The Elton John biopic ‘Rocketman’ took the Cannes film festival by storm on May 16, with the warts-and-all movie about his wild rock ‘n’ roll years wowing critics.
The extended standing ovation for the film brought its director Dexter Fletcher and star Taron Egerton — who plays the singer — to tears.
With some critics saying it was among the most searingly honest biopic in years, Variety’s Stuart Oldham tweeted minutes after the end that “‘Rocketman’ is fantastic, a musical drama that hits all the right notes, especially the sad ones.”
John could not hide his joy at the reception, hugging the cast and his longtime lyricist and friend Bernie Taupin, who is a major character the film.
The 72-year-old British musical megastar seemed to have difficulty walking as he posed for the paparazzi on the red carpet before the premiere.
Cannes director Thierry Fremaux had hinted that Sir Elton, who has admitted he nearly died from a rare viral infection two years ago, might play before the film.
“A piano will be hidden behind the curtain,” he told reporters, with the star also rumoured to perform at a private party afterwards in the French Riviera resort.
He did not perform at the premiere but took part in a sing-along at the beach.
Wearing a dark suit with ‘Rocket Man’ written in silver sequins on the back, he wiped away a tear under his heart-shaped sequined sunglasses as the lights went down in the cinema for the film to begin.
Taupin put a hand on his knee and smiled to reassure him.
Earlier Sir Elton laughed off what looked like a problem with his hip when he appeared for a photo call in an eggshell-blue suit and matching diamond-encrusted glasses.
Instead, the showman joked with husband David Furnish — who produced the film — and stuck out his tongue at actor Taron Egerton who plays him.
The singer said last year he would be retiring from touring after a three-year farewell tour.
Furnish said the movie, which was a decade in the making, is brutally frank about the singer’s struggles with drugs, alcohol and most of all, his sexuality.
“We didn’t want to compromise the fact we felt it had to be hard-hitting and truthful,” he said.