5 Best Musical Biopics to Watch This Summer: Dive Deep Into The Lives Of Your Most Beloved Artists

Amiah Robinson, Staff Writer

Elvis (2022) 

In this movie we are guided through the life of Elvis Presley (played by Austin Butler) through the eyes and narration of Colonel Tom Parker – Presley’s corrupt manager of 22 years – as he tries to convince the audience that he wasn’t the cause of death and downfall of the “King of Rock n’ Roll”. This film, directed by Baz Luhrmann, was released in June 2022, and almost immediately was named one of the best films of the year. “Elvis” received an audience score of 94% and a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 77% on the official Rotten Tomatoes website. I appreciated the fact that Luhrmann escalated the intensity in Elvis’ dance moves and music throughout the film to create a better feeling of understanding from the younger audience as to why Elvis himself may have created a stir in the 1950s. 

This movie personally inspired me to embrace my own uniqueness when it comes to style, music and art in general. If you have a strong passion for creativity and creative freedom than I 100% recommend adding this film to your watchlist. 

Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance 

with Somebody

In this movie, we see the rise of pop icon Whitney Houston (played by Naomi Ackie). Released Dec. 23, 2022, and directed by Kasi Lemmons, this movie shows the trials and tribulations of the well-known singer. “‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ takes great pains to craft an intuitive throughline for Houston’s life,” Robert Daniels writes in his review of the movie. 

This movie plays like a lifetime movie and really digs deep into exploring not only Houston’s successes, but it also attempts to give you a glimpse into what life was like for her growing up and so on. This film is very honest yet still extremely beautiful at the same time. With an audience score of 92% and a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 44%, Houston’s biopic is, in my opinion, a must see!

Rocket Man 

In “Rocket Man”, released in 2019, Elton John (played by Taron Egerton) recounts his life in front of strangers in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting for most of the film. The movie features many of  John’s most iconic songs throughout his career and also some of his most distinctive stylistic choices. We get to see how fame affects him and also what his relationships with others were like. This film teaches us the importance of forgiveness and self-healing, all while it pulls at so many heart strings.  “Rocket Man” has an audience rating of 88% and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 89%. 

Watching “Elton John” – a very humble and caring person – find himself through music, lose himself in fame and finally find happiness and comfort in the end is extremely touching. When I think of this film the first thing that comes to mind is color! There is so much color in this film and I think that this is just as memorable and important as the actual story. You are truly experiencing a work of art when you watch “Rocket Man”. 

Bohemian Rhapsody

“Bohemian Rhapsody”, released in 2018, goes in-depth into the life of lead singer Freddie Mercury (played by Rami Malek) who, throughout the entirety of the film according to IMDb (Internet Movie Database), “defies stereotypes and convention to become one of history’s most beloved entertainers.” This film also shows the importance of forgiveness, mending broken relationships and being different.

“The music of Queen is such a collection of hits that this alone makes for a good time, but the movie is visually appealing as well. Rami Malek is fantastic,” says an anonymous Rotten Tomatoes review. Bohemian Rhapsody received an audience score of 85% and a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 60%.

In this film you discover what Mercury had to deal with after breaking into the music business — from labels and record companies to issues with his family. Mercury shows us the importance of never giving up. I think this movie did justice to the band and Mercury! The costume design (even down to the teeth) was amazing! Rami Malek had amazing vocals and really embodied Mercury’s flamboyant persona. 

Get On Up

The film “Get On Up”, released in 2014, recounts the harsh life of singer James Brown (played by Chadwick Boseman) as he navigates his way through the music industry.  This film shows us how a young boy from a poor family in the south with no more than an eighth grade education used his wits and musical genius to make a name for himself in a time when Black artists weren’t always recognized. This film can teach us the power of ambition and persistence. “Get on Up” received an audience score of 68% and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 80%.

To me, this film has many very real moments both visually and emotionally. I don’t think that anyone could have done this role better than Boseman. All of Brown’s most iconic performances had been executed flawlessly, and the dancing was identical to Brown himself! This movie gives you a glimpse into three different decades, which I find interesting. Overall, I found it to be such an entertaining watch, and I think that this also should be added to your watchlist!