I Rewatched Rocketman And I Have A New Appreciation For The Depiction Of Bernie Taupin And Elton John’s Friendship

Film News

The moment Rocketman starts, it transports you into this story. You become part of Elton John’s world, for better or worse. I ended my first viewing with so much admiration for the singer. I couldn’t help but appreciate his artistry and sympathize with his trials and tribulations. I also loved Rocketman’s depiction of his friendship with Bernie Taupin. Their decades-long friendship is an important piece of the film, but it impacted me even more during a repeat viewing. 

Taron Egerton and Jamie Bell give compelling performances as Elton and Bernie. They were criminally snubbed from the 2020 Oscar Award nominations. Rewatching the movie reminded me that the Rocketman cast and crew deserved many nominations, and it also reminded me of the importance of Bernie and Elton’s friendship to this film. 

Their bond propelled Elton’s career and helped his recovery. Bernie and Elton’s friendship may be one of the most important movie friendships of all time. 

Warning Rocketman Spoilers are ahead. Proceed with caution. 

Jamie Bell and Taron Egerton in Rocketman

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

I Found Watching Their Brotherly Bond Comforting 

In Rocketman, Elton refers to Bernie as his brother. Even without him giving this label, it’s easy to see their brotherly bond. They connect in a familial way. Initially, Elton tries to make it more romantic by leaning in for a kiss, which is a moment that really happened between Elton and Bernie. However, once Bernie gently rejects Elton’s romantic notions, their relationship further blossoms into a family bond.

Found family movies, TV shows and books are some of my favorite minds of stories. I enjoy the idea of building a family instead of being born into one. It’s a beautiful concept that shows the importance of creating and nurturing bonds that aren’t directly connected by blood. In the case of Elton and Rocketman, it also offers a safe haven from a toxic family dynamic. When his parents provide none, Bernie represents some hope for Elton. 

His kindness makes their cruelty a little more digestible. Elton may not have a caring mother and father in Rocketman, but he has a loyal, loving, and devoted brother for life. Elton and Bernie’s bond is one of the most heartwarming aspects of the movie. 

Jamie Bell in Rocketman

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

The Scene Where Bernie Automatically Accepts Elton’s Sexuality Stood Out More To Me After This Rewatch 

The scene where Elton is outed in front of Bernie has always been a pivotal moment because it represents many things. It demonstrates how Elton needs and wants acceptance and fears rejection, it shows Bernie’s kindness and understanding, and it acts as a way to contrast a scene later in the movie. Bryce Dallas Howard gives a captivating performance in Rocketman. She effortlessly showcases Sheila’s capacity for casual cruelty

Bernie’s support for Elton after he’s outed contrasts greatly with him telling Sheila that he’s gay. She has a harsh response and further rejects him. Rocketman paints Elton as someone who survived and thrived despite his parents, not because of them. Bernie is a major part of how Elton survives. If he didn’t have at least one person who cares about him, his addiction and road to recovery may have been even worse.  

Jamie Bell and Taron Egerton in Rocketman

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

In The Film, They Seem Like Platonic Soulmates 

The first scene with Elton and Bernie together shows their instant bond. They then easily get into a rhythm of collaborating and making music. Bernie and Elton become so in tune that they can almost communicate without words. Additionally, they understand each other in a way that goes beyond normal friendship. They are platonic soulmates in Rocketman. 

My definition of platonic soulmates is two people who have a nearly unbreakable bond, understand each other in a way that’s unique to them, and love each other without fear or prejudice. It’s similar to romantic soulmates, but without the romance part. That’s how Bernie and Elton’s relationship feels in Rocketman. No matter what happens, they can fix it and continue their friendship. Their bond wouldn’t be broken by harsh words or pushing the other way because they almost need each other to exist. They are forever linked and bonded.

Richard Madden in Rocketman

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

John’s Treatment Of Elton Further Highlights How Bernie Was A Constant Supporter Of Him 

John Reid, played by Richard Madden, is portrayed as a nefarious figure in Rocketman, which is very different from how he’s portrayed in Bohemian Rhapsody. In Rocketman, John uses and abuses Elton throughout their romantic entanglement. He also manipulates him, and his behavior further enables and pushes Elton over the edge. He spirals further into his addictions because John doesn’t love him and forces him into a creative and financial box. 

Overall, John is shown as being a villain in Rocketman. His villainy helps highlight Bernie’s virtues. Both men are important to Elton at one point, but for different reasons. They also greatly contrast in their treatment of him. Bernie is seen as someone who helps him creatively and supports him without limits. John is shown as someone who drains Elton both personally and professionally. 

The movie paints John as someone who seduces a naive Elton. Whether this is actually truth or fiction in the Rocketman narrative doesn’t matter because, in the context of this movie, John is a monster who pushes Elton further into despair and darkness. Bernie acts as a light to guide him out of it. This becomes even more of a  concrete concept in the rehab scene when Elton addresses all his tormentors, in addition to Bernie and his younger self. 

Jamie Bell and Taron Egerton in Rocketman

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Seeing Bernie And Elton’s Song Writing Process In The Movie Made Me Appreciate The Songs More 

I am an Elton John fan, but I am not an expert on him and his music. “Your Song” is one of my favorite songs ever, but I know nothing about the history behind it. Rocketman is based on his life, but not everything is factual. Nevertheless, it does offer some insight into Elton’s writing process at the start of his career. It also depicts some of the well-known and popular songs that he composed with Bernie.

I didn’t realize they made so many of Elton’s iconic songs together. Rocketman is Elton John’s movie, but it credits Bernie immensely with his impact on Elton’s music. They are almost equal in their contribution to that catalog. Elton had the voice and stage charisma, but they both have the writing and composing talent. 

I will now associate these songs not only with Elton John, but with Bernie Taupin as well. Rocketman highlights Elton John’s life and shows that Bernie Taupin has always been a major part of it. I hope that their friendship remains lifelong and forever immortalized in Rocketman.

Buy or rent Rocketman on Amazon. 

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