Based on the premise that no biopic can depict the star’s life truthfully and literally for multiple reasons, any cinematic approach to the person in question should be seen as a distortion whose sole design is to produce an entertainment product subject to the rules of the genre in which the facts can be distorted/exaggerated/ omitted at the whim of writers, directors and producers. All this is also applicable to musical biopics: there were around in classical Hollywood, and they’re still around today. History has a way of repeating itself. You just have to check out Bohemian Rhapsody, the supposed Freddie Mercury film biography that is really a tribute to the band, a celebration of their music. The way to hide, to blur Mercury’s homosexuality says a lot about its intentions. Maybe that’s why when we heard about the arrival of a new biopic starring Reginald Kenneth Dwight, AKA, Elton John, another homosexual musician known for his excesses on and off the stage, we feared a similar exercise. But no, that’s not the case here.
First of all, because, although both movies were directed by the same person, Dexter Fletcher, the man charged with completing Bohemian after the dismissal/scaring off of Bryan Singer, the two films are very different. OK, like with the Mercury biopic, its intentions also include depicting the artist, the person behind the artist, and celebrating his music, it’s just that it fell really short in the ‘get to know the man behind the legend’ section. And here his homosexuality is not overlooked, nor his long flirtation with drugs. In fact, it’s made clear from the get-go, with the protagonist dressed in one of his extravagant outfits checking into a center where he confesses, he’s addicted to alcohol, drugs, sex and shopping. From this point on, the storyline divulges his life from a series of flashbacks. But the best thing is that it adopts the format of a musical, the best decision they could have made.
A musical in all its glory that skips between reality and fantasy, and in which the songs, his greatest hits, and the magnificent musical numbers that accompany them, are not inserted chronologically into his biography, but instead appear to assist narrative development, thus enabling us to tackle the different dramatic moments. In addition, our legend benefits from a prodigious Taron Edgerton, who transforms himself into Elton John, carrying out an external but also internal metamorphosis to imbue his spirit and personality. Despite visits to some common spots and a few other sentimental excesses, the movie is consistent in every aspect, especially when it comes to showing the darker side of the character, although there are limits: let’s not forget that Elton John is the man behind the project, therefore, what we see is his version of the story, with all its controversial and crude realities, it is still just that: his version. No doubt behind the movie there is even a bigger story waiting to be told. That said, this is an improvement, a step forward, and above all, an impressive experience you have to live. And dance.