I love Rocketman, the biopic-musical mashup that chronicles the early life and career of Elton John.
I grew up with his music; it was all around in my childhood. I remember watching Elton on the Muppet Show. I liked his music; and there were certain songs of his that were favorites, but very little shook me from my “all things Beatles” when I was young; they were (and are) just the best. Probably my favorite movie, if one forces me to pick, is Yellow Submarine; yet another musical fantasy. I sense a theme… I like Moulin Rouge! too.
When I was in college, one of my professors had a CD copy of “Elton John Live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. That CD gave me an entirely new appreciation for Elton John. I’ve seen him in concert four times…the only other musicians I’ve seen that much are Paul McCartney (the man himself) and U2.
I got a bit of a thrill when I figured out that the actor playing Bernie Taupin is the same one who was the young Billy Elliot. Jamie Bell and Taron Edgerton do such a great job in this movie. Taron is not hurting my eyes at all while he is doing such a fabulous job playing and singing as Elton. I loved the multiple pairs of glasses throughout.
Watching the movie is nearly timed with my growing up. I recognized all of the costumes and the time periods they went with as memory. I remember being in Junior High School when he married a woman; which caused a pile of crass scuttlebutt. Even though there wasn’t much understanding of sexuality or gender, there was a near universal surprise that he’d married. Being a product of the original MTv generation, back when it was music videos all day long, I absolutely recognized the “I’m Still Standing” video.
In many ways, I feel a kinship to Elton’s journey as portrayed in the movie. It’s not the same as my own, but there are many similar fragments and emotional echos. Not the rock&roll life; fame, fortune, drugs, sex…; but the emotions, the rejections, the insecurity, the near suicides, on the path of figuring out who you are. “You’ll never be loved, properly,” says his mother. The other quote that hit me, particularly from my perspective as a trans man, was near the end, with, “I haven’t been Reggie Dwight for years.” I think there’s a similar echo of being disconnected from whom others perceived you to be…along with learning to reject who you are when you’re young.
One more step in my ongoing process after several views; I got the courage to follow through with getting my ear pierced, like a respectable gay man, perhaps.
Music is tied to my being and my soul. I need it to live; and so do others. Someone saved my life tonight because I have the gift of their song.
Here’s to being authentic and having incredible music fill the soundtrack of one’s life!