Movies

OPINION: Elton John's story is completely relatable and in the most unexpected way

And it's only one of the reasons you have to see Rocketman.

By Anita Lyons
Elton John's life story thus far is one of sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll and a whole lot of sequins - a far cry from my life growing up in Sydney's North Shore.
So when I was invited to not only attend the Sydney premiere of Rocketman, but interview star Taron Edgerton and director Dexter Fletcher, I really had no idea just how much this entire experience would mean to me.
Growing up as a child in the 90s, I had a secret love affair with Elton John, which of course stemmed from my obsession with the first CD I ever owned - The Lion King.
And then, as I grew older, (and our bomb of a car would literally only play easy listening station 2CH), I was enamoured with songs like Tiny Dancer, Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me, Your Song and finally, Candle In The Wind- the re-released single which I begged my Mum to buy me at the age of 11 after the death of Princess Diana in 1997.
While I knew his music (which by the way, in the film, Taron's performance and the use of the songs exceeded my expectations), I wasn't as familiar with his story - until now.
I was fortunate enough to chat with Taron on the blue carpet at the Sydney premiere. (Source: Now to Love/Supplied)
Of course I knew about his current partner, David Furnish; his incredible humanitarian work and that time he got married to a woman in Sydney; but I was completely surprised to learn that Elton John, whose real name is Reginald Dwight, had a real want in life.
No, not want, need...to be loved.
Sitting in the dark, surrounded by media personalities and other super fans, my heart sank for him.
It wasn't the drug abuse, the sex addiction or his relationships with men who didn't love him that had me - it was his real need for acceptance to be who he was.
Elton John at Canne Film Festival, 2019. (Source: Getty Images)
Without giving too much away, Elton's home life was less than loving.
His mother was cold, nasty and unpleasant, and his father? Mean, uncaring and imprudent.
There's a particular moment in the film when Elton is on the phone to his Mum, and he's trying to come out to her - a moment which was insanely painful to watch.
He's also not "coming out" by choice. His manager had told him to call her in case the press start prying - unbelievably heartbreaking in itself.
At the time, John was already a global superstar - at the top of the charts and in the height of his career thus far - but here he was, stumbling on his words, a puddle of goo, and with so much anger - trying to admit who he was.
And that's why Elton's costumes said a lot about him. They were a double edged sword.
On one hand, they truly showed who he was - a fabulous, flamboyant and talented performer; and then on the other, they hid his old persona - Reggie Dwight.
WATCH: The Rocketman teaser trailer will give you goosebumps. Post continues after video...
There were times when Elton is so angry at himself and those around him, that he drinks himself into an oblivion, lashing out at those who care for him, pushing them away until they struggle to want to come back, if at all.
Then there is the time when he realises that he can no longer hide behind these vices, finally having to admit he has a serious problem and no amount of self-sabotage can help him with what he really wants.
And it was here that I found myself relating to the global superstar that was being portrayed in front of me.
While I have no addiction to a substance or sex - I do have a dependence on self-sabotage and hiding behind a mask of who I really am.
It's that struggle with telling not only the people around you who you really are, but more importantly, admitting it to yourself - that it's OK to be loud, or confident or different. To speak out against things you believe in, to speak up for yourself or be who you want to be - that is unequivocally you.
Elton in one of his most flamboyant costumes in the 70s. (Source: Getty Images)
There is so much to learn from someone like Elton John - who found his voice and decided to use it.
Now, 28-years sober, he is a father, a humanitarian and a performer whose music has transcended generations.
But for me, it's his ability to be exactly who he wants to be, and frankly, this is his most incredibly talent yet.