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Taron Egerton plays Elton John in this very interesting and unusually told biopic of John’s life. While the film starts out in a rather conventional narrative away – we first see Elton John checking himself into a rehab facility wherein he starts recounting various parts of his life – it becomes quickly clear that this will be a different kind of life story. The film is really a musical; at several points, it feels like you are watching a stage play. There is one number in which Edgerton first appears as the teenage Elton John that is particularly well done). The screenwriter plays with timelines and exaggerates events. The songs are not sung in chronological order but fit what was happening to John psychologically at different points in his life. The result is a film that is fun (even in its darker moments) and “over the top” entertainment. Even at the lowest points in John’s life when drugs and alcohol appear to be getting the best of him, the film never takes itself too seriously. Overall, it is surprisingly fun for its song choices and theatrics, emotional, and moving. Egerton is a totally believable Elton John, and his soaring performance (and the fact that he does all of his own singing), keeps the film fun and fresh. The director, who also directed Egerton in Eddie the Eagle, must have immediately seen the potential for him to play John. I loved Jamie Bell (who played Billie Elliot in another remarkable musical) and thought he was cast perfectly in the role of Bernie Taupin. The film gets a big thumbs up from me; Genie, Becky and I loved it. It is a wonderful tribute to John’s musical talent and Taupin’s writing genius as well as a great story about how John brought himself out of a serious downward spiral. While those of us in a certain era will probably resonate most with the film, it is a film that will likely be fun for even those younger folks who don’t know much about their lives and music.

About Gary Burkholder

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