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5 things Malaysians might find controversial in "Rocketman"


Date Posted: 20 July 2019


A scene from "Rocketman".

Thanks to the huge success of last year's Queen biopic a.k.a. "Bohemian Rhapsody" which earned the movie several Oscars including a much-deserved Best Actor victory for Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, music biopics have since become an ongoing trend in Hollywood.

With some of the notable music biopics currently in the works including the likes of Elvis Presley and Boy George, "Rocketman" -- the highly-anticipated Elton John biopic -- has made its mark a few months ago both in the recent Cannes Film Festival and cinemas in some parts of the world including the US, UK and Singapore.

But after a long wait, we will finally get to watch "Rocketman" this coming July 25th in our local cinemas.

However, it's worth noting that "Rocketman" isn't what we would call as "mainstream-friendly", given the fact about Elton John's tumultuous real-life ordeal that some audiences might find them offensive and controversial. That said, here are the five of them to take note:

1) Elton John's homosexuality

Taron Egerton in a scene from "Rocketman".

Elton John is more than just a talented singer who gave us decades of memorable hits like "Your Song", "Rocket Man" and "Candle in the Wind". The hitmaker is also famously known as a gay icon. He officially revealed his true sexuality to the public back in 1988. Even though "Rocketman" is being toned down in our country from an expected 18 to a more audience-friendly P13 rating, the Elton John biopic/musical fantasy is originally an R-rated movie in the stateside. Other than exploring some of his greatest hits, the movie will also address Taron Egerton's Elton John character being a closeted homosexual during his earlier years.

2) The romantic relationship between Elton John and John Reid

Elton John (Taron Egerton) and John Reid (Richard Madden) in a scene from "Rocketman".

If the name "John Reid" sounds familiar, that is because he was previously portrayed by "Game Of Thrones" alumni Aidan Gillen in last year's "Bohemian Rhapsody" as Queen's manager. However, in "Rocketman", fellow "Game Of Thrones" co-star Richard Madden (is this supposed to be a coincidence or what?) plays the role of the manager for Taron Egerton's Elton John. In addition to their working relationship, both Elton John and John Reid happen to be lovers as well. And yes, there were some kissings and a highly-publicised sex scene (shown, not implied) between them in the movie, even though we (poor) Malaysians will never get to see it on the big screen, thanks to our snip-happy local censorship board.

3) Elton John's downward spiral of drugs and alcoholism

The hallucination swimming pool scene from "Rocketman".

At the height of his fame in the 70s, Elton John's offstage persona along with his personal problem was a mess altogether. He subsequently turned to drugs, pills and alcohol to the point it became an addiction. At one point in "Rocketman", there's a crucial moment - as heavily promoted in the trailers - where Taron Egerton's Elton John threw himself in the pool dressed in a bathrobe after overdosing some pills.

4) Lots of profanities

Taron Egerton and Jamie Bell in a scene from "Rocketman".

As mentioned earlier in Point No. 1, "Rocketman" is originally an R-rated movie. Other than depicting Elton John's homosexuality both in context and literal manner, the movie also never shys away with numerous foul languages -- notably F-bombs -- throughout its 2-hour-plus running time. Whether or not the P13-rated "Rocketman" in our local cinemas would mean we have to settle with lots of muted dialogues will remain to be seen.

5) Elton John's dysfunctional relationship with his parents

Bryce Dallas Howard plays Reginald Dwight/Elton John's mother Sheila in "Rocketman".

When Elton John was just a child (back then, he's still legally known as Reginald Dwight before he adopted his famous stage name in his adult years), his relationship with his parents were largely dysfunctional. This can be seen in some of the scenes in "Rocketman". His mother Sheila, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, is depicted as both cruel and condescending while his temperamental father Stanley (Steven Mackintosh) is equally emotionally cold and distant.

"Rocketman" opens in cinemas nationwide on 25 July 2019.

Writer: Casey Chong



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Rocketman (25 Jul 2019)


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