When I was five years old, I moved to Argentina: a German-speaking South African girl who now had to get a full grasp on English and Spanish. I became fluent in both: rolling the former off my tongue with a non-descript American twang with which my South African-accented mother and brother found much amusement, and the latter like a Buenos Aires native.
Dance movies are touch and go. They’re often so devoid of plot and character, you just have to let it go and enjoy them for what they usually are: an appreciation of dance. The White Crow is one of the exceptions. The richer-than-usual plotting and character may be partly due to the true nature of its story – it’s based on the career and defection to the west of Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev – but credit must be given where else it’s due.
This movie’s gift is its song, which director Dexter Fletcher and his incredible cast use to tell the story of musician Elton John. In many ways, Rocketman follows the formula of a standard music biopic; but by embracing John’s music and spirit through the medium of a full-on musical this movie is heightened in style, tone, and emotional depth. While the movie does replicate various of John’s famous concerts and performances, the rest is a full-bodied song and dance that allows the story and its characters to shine.