Geek Girls Rule! #564 – Review: Rocketman

Ok, I know that a fair number of you will attempt to argue that this is not a nerdy movie.

And I am ashamed of you.

Music nerds are also nerds, says the woman who plays/has played two instruments, keeps trying to pick up two more, and has fronted a punk band.  Seriously, if I am ever independently wealthy, I will spend all of my time writing, learning languages and learning new instruments.

So, we got tickets to an advance screening of Rocketman this weekend.

Oh, so good!!!!!!

After the reviews of Bohemian Rhapsody and the erasure of Freddie Mercury’s bisexuality, among a few other complaints by other folks I trust, we decided not to see it (Bohemian Rhapsody).  However, with Rocketman, Elton John is still alive to defend himself, and from the start you heard that there would be no erasure of his sexuality.

And Taron Egerton is fantastic.  I really enjoyed his performance in Sing.  And he knocked it out of the park in this.

The film is based on the life of Elton John, and opens with him marching into a group therapy session at a rehab center dressed as the Devil, having walked away from a show at Madison Square Garden, which did not actually happen, but it maybe it should have.  The framing device of the movie is this and later group therapy sessions.  It is exceptionally up front about his sexuality, and implies heavily that his first sexual partner was a member of an American soul band touring England that John played back up for.  It does not shy away from his own bad behavior, his drug and alcohol abuse, attempted suicide or other excesses.

I don’t want to give away too much, I mean, you know he lived, he’s still out there.  🙂

I did see Elton John in concert a decade or so ago, and the man was still a powerhouse on stage, if he had aged past the super flashy costumes and physical antics.  And I am phenomenally thankful that I did get to see him live that one time.

His music has always spoken to me.  My family, for all that neither of my parents plays an instrument (although apparently my dad did play the guitar when he was a teenager), loves music.  I grew up listening to rock and roll, country and classical music,  the Beatles, Janis Joplin, Hank Williams Sr., Simon and Garfunkel, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, and, yes, Elton John.

I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t know who he was.

I admit it, I cried when I got to see him live.  Just as I did with David Bowie and Bette Midler.

The friendship between John and Bernie Taupin, his lyricist, is beautifully depicted and honestly, I think an exemplar of male friendship on the big screen.

John’s music is used to segue between various periods of his life.  The film definitely avoided one big pitfall of a lot of biopics, which is pacing.  Let’s face it, real life rarely follows good pacing.  The use of the music to move John from one age to another was really clever, and worked wonderfully to keep things moving along.  And while there were the occasional cringe-y moments, it was never dull.

I loved this movie.  I don’t know if it will work for anyone who wasn’t already a fan, but it worked for both me and the Geek Husband What Rules, who is also a huge Elton John fan.  In his case, Elton John’s appearance on the Muppet Show was what won him over.

Not everyone grows up singing “Good-bye Yellow Brick Road,” from pre-school age on.  Which is, as far as I’m concerned, is a gods damned travesty.

If you like what you read here, or want to help fund my music habit, please consider donating using the link at the top right of the page:  Keep Us Geeking, or checking out my Patreon.  Thank you!

Also, if you’d like to see what sort of fiction I write when left to my own devices, please feel free to check out my fiction Patreon, Nothing Nice Comes Out of My Head.

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