Rocketman is magical. It's a biographical musical film, based on the life of Elton John, and is billed as being "based on a true fantasy". That's an accurate description, because it's not a biopic in the traditional sense. You can't watch it as an Elton John purist, expecting the songs to be done in their proper chronological order, or the story to be told exactly as you know it. Parts of it come across like an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, but it works as such, and seems appropriate for the subject matter. Dexter Fletcher's direction is captivating, and not since Sissy Spacek's uncanny embodiment of Loretta Lynn in 'Coal Miner's Daughter' have I seen someone capture the essence of a musical icon with such pitch-perfect precision as does the totally engaging Taron Egerton (with an obvious nod to Rami Malek's for his Academy Award winning portrayal of Freddie Mercury in 'Bohemian Rhapsody'). Bryce Dallas Howard as EJ's mother is wonderful (as always), and she brings a heartbreaking element to Rocketman that is essential to the story. The film works on many levels, particularly as a story of personal redemption, and the soundtrack, (which I'm listening to as I write this), is with Taron Egerton's own voice, and it's excellent. Recommended.
I've known Bishop Carlton Pearson for too long, know him too well, am too close to his story, and can personally relate to it too deeply to be able to objectively review this film, so I'm officially recusing myself from it. In a word, I already loved it before I saw it...loved the idea of it...loved when he first told me that the amazing Chiwetel Ejiofor was playing him in it...so there's no way that I can be objective about any of it. But I must say that even I was surprised at how much more I actually loved it after I finally saw it. So this is not a review, per se...more of a list of observations. I love that it's on Netflix for a myriad of reasons. Very modern and savvy distribution choice. I love Ejiofor's brilliantly subtle and compelling portrayal of Pearson. I love all the casting, especially that of the great Martin Sheen as Oral Roberts. I love that the production is understated enough to be believable. I really love that Carlton had enough say about the construction of the script that he could intentionally keep it on the high road...I mean, I know the story firsthand, and what is portrayed in the film is all true, but definitely told from the perspective of someone who is not bitter from betrayal. This could have easily been a tabloid-type tell-all, but instead it's a beautifully crafted piece of work that is authentic, yet uplifting. I love that my friend and colleague, Bishop Yvette Flunder, is portrayed in it, and that her connection with Pearson is an integral part of the story. Most of all, I love the platform that 'Come Sunday' gives the real Gospel, which simply means "Good News"...no more, no less...and the dialogue that it is inspiring around the world. Definitely recommend.