We paid Elton John back a debt we apparently owed. In exchange for all the years and all the great songs and joy he’s given us over the years, we only had to give him two hours of our life to watch his therapy on the big screen in exchange. So, now we are even.
In the vein of Pink Floyd’s The Wall, (another shared personal therapy session courtesy Roger Waters) this biopic is a musical of sorts, where certain lines of dialog turn into songs sung by and around the main characters.
I noticed that the songs chronicling his rocket to stardom beginnings in Southern California did not accurately portray the first four years of his career (and albums like his self-titled debut, Tumbleweed Connection, Madman Across the Water, Honky Chateu and Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player), but who can blame him for not wanting to showcase only his mega-hits? After all, it’s only a two-hour movie.
For a rock and roll film / quasi-therapy session and artistic creative piece, it scores high in rock and roll music highlights. It captures the against-all-odds fight to make music and fancifully explains the “magic” that happens with music and songs and a live audience sometimes with a floating scene at LA’s Troubadour. Well done. Even the fact that the songs were redone and sung with another voice, didn’t diminish the greatness of those tunes (“Your Song,” “Crocodile Rock,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Candle in the Wind”).
I didn’t really appreciate all the gay lover scenes. I believe they were fully clothed (not sure, as I kind of turned my head as if to give them privacy on the big screen). That’s his story and he certainly wanted to tell it. I knew it’d probably take center stage in the film at some point, and it did. I was expecting worse, so the apparent restraint shown was appreciated.