<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>


Direced by Dexter Fletcher. Starring Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard, Gemma Jones, Steven Mackintosh, Tate Dononvan, Charlie Rowe, Stephen Graham

Running time: 2 hours


I missed the press show for Bohemian Rhapsody and didn’t end up writing the review later when I watched it myself (I will!) but I thought the film and Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury were awesome. And it’s hard not to compare it with the recently released Rocketman, the story about Elton John’s rise to fame. 

Both Mercury and Elton John are LGBTQ guys who achieved tremendous success and notoriety during their careers. They both had troubled family lives and broken relationships, both personal and professional. Freddie Mercury is no longer with us, but Elton John still is and this film is a sort of autobiography for him (Elton John and his husband are Executive-Producers on the film). It starts off with him all-decked up and marching into an AA meeting where he proceeds to tell his tale as a sort of flashback story for us to peer into his life, but from his point of view.


His parents (played by Bryce Dallas Howard and Steven Mackintosh) didn’t love him very much and he craved for a hug. His only friend was a Bernie (Jamie Bell), the guy who wrote the lyrics for his beautiful compositions. But little Reginald Dwight (his real name) worked hard and realized that in order to become the person you want to be, you have to kill the person you are. And so was born Elton Hercules John.

Excessive drugs, alcohol and sex filled his life since all the riches couldn’t fill the void in his heart and couldn’t put its arms around him to give him a tight hug.


The movie has lots of little bits strung together and resembles a Broadway show with characters bursting into song now and then as well as magically choreographed sequences that take Elton and the audience away from reality. But I found some of it too rushed just to get in a bit of story and advance the narrative. Like, we need to tell this so let’s have a 20 second scene or a montage and get it done with. Doesn’t let you really connect with the story at all.

When it does shine, Rocketman brings a tear to your eye, but that’s rare and only when they allow the frame to take in the depth of despair that Elton felt. Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody was far more brilliant in his depiction of Mercury than Taron Egerton is here. The film follows the same format as most star biopics and that is part of its downfall.

PS: The film only details his life upto a particular point and there’s no Candle In The Wind!

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