The "I Want Love" sequence, during which young Elton -- then still Reggie Dwight -- and his mother, grandmother, and father share one of John's more downbeat, emotional songs, allowed Fletcher to dive deep into the fantastical end of the spectrum, where the movie becomes more like a musical than a drama. "You have something like 'I Want Love,' where the characters open their hearts to the audience and clearly state what they want -- that's an advantage that a musical has that the other sorts perhaps don't," Fletcher said. "Because, a drama is all about the layers, and how we cover our true feelings, and then the audience is taken on that journey to discover them. But, with the musical, when someone sits down and sings 'I Want Love' and nobody else hears them, and they're all singing the same song, I think you understand on a fundamental level, this is the core of the movie is, the core of what these characters want."
"Rocket Man," with its sweeping camera moves that take Egerton out of a deep swimming pool and all the way to Dodgers Stadium, was one of the most complicated songs to shoot, simply because of the locations involved. That's not to mention getting Egerton at the bottom of a 15-meter tank and making sure he can breathe while he's mouthing along to the song. "The amount of self control it takes on his behalf was kind of extraordinary," Fletcher said. "There was a breathing apparatus, but he's alone down there."
And yet, though the movie is called Rocketman, and Egerton's performance of "Rocket Man" is one of the most unforgettable climactic moments of the movie, it's a different song that provides a musical throughline. From the opening strains at the beginning to when it finally appears as a full production number at the end, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" is the emotional touchstone of the film, the song that states exactly where Elton John is, mentally and emotionally, during the worst time of his life.
"It became more and more powerful," Fletcher said. "'Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road' is the theme of recovery, it's the road to himself. It's the thing that Bernie says to him in that restaurant at the end that really carries through, that has to get to a moment of clarity that allows him to reluctantly take himself to that place of getting better. And what we discovered throughout the editing of the film and as we worked on the music and experimented with more and more things, that 'Yellow Brick Road' is so evocative and so powerful, and because it's circular in nature, the film, really. The rehab is circular. The cul de sac Reggie lives in is circular. Sometimes the beginning of the film only makes sense at the end."