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I heard so many positive things about this film and enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody, I thought Id give it a try. Make no mistake, Elton John is one of the biggest & most successful musicians of all time. I was surprised to learn there were so many familiar songs I have heard that didn't know were his. I appreciated learning about his lyricist and his role in Eltons success. In many ways, the film kind of felt like a review of all of his hits and of course his backstory. It was definitely engaging in that you can feel the pain and the reasoning for his pain, being desperate for real love.
There were many things I thought were fantastic, Taron Egerton was simply amazing in his depiction of Elton. Amazing cinematography, directing, acting, emotion. Even the colors were all very well thought out.
This is what I didn't like about the movie, the story itself.
We all suffer greatly. Each and every one of us, including feelings of wanting to be loved. The film is great in that you can really relate to what he went through personally, however I felt that his suffering & struggle was more about his inability to deal with massive success brought on mostly because he was gifted from day one.
Here's another way of saying this: How many stories of an individual being desperate for love have we never heard of because they were not successful? Is their pain and suffering any more less because they were not? Shouldn't we actually try to empathize more for those who weren't born as music prodigies, who do not have the fame and resources to tell their own stories because they were not? Wouldnt their stories be more interesting as they didnt have such a gift to their advantage?
Maybe thats brutal, but the film goes to great lengths to point out he was very, very good with music naturally, he was born with it. Yes, he had to study and practice, and he was no doubt prolific, but for me to summarize the story would be "he was a prodigy raised by unloving parents and his massive success alienated him further from meaningful relationships, which was compounded only by his feeling sorry for himself and his access to drugs". Not the most inspirational story when you look at it that way. I find stories where there is a massive obstacle to overcome against all odds more inspiring. The obstacles Elton dealt with were his parents and him feeling sorry for himself. (Ouch) Right?
That said, this self destructive journey is very common with many highly successful musicians, they find a way to use their success to self destruct. Some prevent it before it happens, others end up killing themselves.
But...the good part is he eventually matures, learns to deal with it, and finds the inner peace he was looking for. I felt like I appreciated the movie more for understanding about how prolific Elton John was than his personal struggles.
Any movie that can make you sit and analyze enough to do a review like this is obviously a good sign. Definitely a rental if you are into music biopics.