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MOVIE REVIEW: Is “Rocketman” Worth the $$$ (& Can You Take Your Kids?)

There are TWO IMPORTANT THINGS you need to know before spending any money to see Rocketman.
First of all, it’s rated R. I assumed it was PG-13 and earned my Mother of the Year stripes (again) by taking my 15 and 11-year-old daughters.
“But Julie, does it really DESERVE that R rating?”
Well, remember how Freddy Mercury fans felt that his sexuality was glossed over in Bohemian Rhapsody? That won’t be the case for Elton John fans after seeing Rocketman. The love-scenes aren’t explicit, but it was pretty uncomfortable sitting through them with my 11-year-old (my 15-year-old, on the other hand, figured out our “Parental Password” and has seen far worse on Netflix). There is also profanity and some drug use, but the latter usually happens during a song-and-dance number and therefore seems less threatening. That brings me to the second thing you need to know about this movie.
Rocketman is a musical!
No, I don’t mean that it’s movie with lots of music. Rocketman bursts into song within the first few minutes and, if you aren’t prepared, it can be a little cringe-y. I say that as someone who does not enjoy musicals, or the level of artifice they sometimes bring to stories. (That said, anyone who enjoys a good stage show will be doubly thrilled by Rocketman.) The constant spectacle also made me feel like we weren’t learning anything new about Elton John, but it didn’t kill the movie for me.
No, I was too smitten with Taron Egerton and his beefy, energetic portrayal of Reginald Dwight to be turned off. I hate to compare him to Rami Malek’s Freddy Mercury, but Egerton’s depiction of an icon feels more lived-in and warm. I even loved his not-quite-Elton versions of those classic songs. Jamie Bell also shimmers as Elton John’s writing partner, Bernie Taupin, and their relationship brings a sweetness and depth to the film that goes beyond the flashy dance numbers.
The best part of Rocketman is clearly the music and it’s the reason I can’t give this movie a low grade. Sure, I wanted to learn more about Elton John and I could’ve done without the stage show (it would’ve looked like any other rock-n-roll biopic without it, though) but I simply enjoyed the music and performances too much to be disappointed. Rocketman might not have been the movie I was expecting, but I still loved the hell out of it. (A-)

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  1. Naomi and I saw it the other night and we loved it! Taron Edgerton was fantastic! And you know I LOVE musicals!

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