Elton John’s ‘Rocketman’ Movie: Fact vs. Fiction: SPOILERS
WARNING: This story contains spoilers about the movie Rocketman.
The new movie Rocketman tells Elton John's story -- from his childhood through the end of the '70s. But as with any biopic, there's bound to be questions regarding its accuracy. Below you'll read about what the filmmakers got right and wrong with what is known about the rock legend.
From the start, the movie has been marketed as an "epic musical fantasy," and in many ways it plays out more like a jukebox musical -- where an artist's catalog is used to develop character and further the plot -- than a traditional biopic. So, while some scenes suggest the creation or inspiration for songs ("Your Song," "Tiny Dancer"), others are choreographed to hits like "The Bitch Is Back," "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" and "I Want Love" that take the audience inside the characters' heads.
While this format allows for songs to be used out of sequence, they're not meant to be taken literally. There are a few moments where characters directly interact with songs that didn't exist yet. And even though the movie ends in 1983 with the release of "I'm Still Standing," his marriage to Renate Blauel and a stint in rehab, both of which took place later, are recreated in Rocketman. Plus, several crucial players in John's story are given different names or omitted entirely. We're also led to believe that every piano he's ever played is a Yamaha, a brand John endorses.
According to our research, the film gets much of his childhood correct. John did have longstanding issues with his parents, who divorced when he was 14, and he was particularly close with his grandmother, who encouraged his musical gift. He also had a good relationship with his stepfather. If specific details of his upbringing, such as his father not wanting him to touch his collection of jazz records, didn't actually happen as depicted in the movie, they nonetheless work toward showing how Elton John later looked to fame, toxic relationships and drugs to attempt to fill the void left by his parents.
Read below to see which parts of Rocketman are fact and which are fiction.