I'm going to make a bold prediction: Rocketman will have multiple nominations for the Academy Awards ceremony on February 23, 2020. It will be nominated for Best Picture. Taron Egerton will receive a Best Actor nomination. There will be other nominations, as well, and the movie will come away with plenty of wins.
Admittedly, this is a hot take. We won't even hear about some of the other contenders until later in the year. But Rocketman is that good! For Elton John fans, it's a must-see. For fans of great motion pictures, this is one that deserves to be on your list.
Rocketman opened just a few days ago, and I wasn't going to wait long to see it. Elton's John's Greatest Hits was only the second full album I had purchased in my young life (the first was K-Tel's Music Express; ask your parents). He is still one of my favorite artists, and I have a lot of older Elton John on my iHeartRadio playlists. I'd seen Bohemian Rhapsody last year, and we knew going in that Rocketman would be compared to the Freddie Mercury biopic.
First, let me tell you what's different about the two movies. Bohemian Rhapsody tends to follow a straight line narrative. It tells the story of Freddie Mercury starting about 1970 and continues chronologically through his rise to fame, his AIDS diagnosis, and appearance at Live Aid. Rocketman is described as more of a "fantasy," yet it's mostly a faithful retelling of Elton John's story. Still, there are clear moments of fantasy for which you must suspend your disbelief. This movie would accurately be described as a musical. It looks like it was made to be put on a stage, and I will not be surprised to see its debut on Broadway one day.
Rocketman follows Elton John from his childhood, when he was Reginald Dwight and a piano prodigy, through his rise to fame and his drug addiction. Elton John can tell this story because he survived it, and this movie is a tribute to what he was able to overcome along the way. It's less a movie about music, and more a musical about addiction and fame. At times, Rocketman reminded me of a Denzel Washington movie a few years back called Flight. In that film, Denzel Washington is an alcoholic airline pilot who saves his plane, while drunk. In Rocketman, we see the superstar we know in his prime, while the story remains squarely focused on Elton John's addictions.
I loved Bohemian Rhapsody. I loved Rocketman even more.
Bohemian Rhapsody was nominated for 5 Academy Awards and won all of them except Best Picture (Green Book). Rocketman will also be nominated for several awards and possibly even take home Best Picture. It's easily the best movie I've seen in 2019.
The film is now playing at theaters everywhere, including The Crescent Theater in Downtown Mobile -- a great place to see a movie! The film is rated R, because as Elton John explained: "I haven't led a PG-13 life."