TIME

A glitter-fueled Rocketman blasts off

John in the rock opera Tommy in 1975

WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, THE rock-’n’-roll biopic is about as un–rock ’n’ roll as you can get, the ultimate in dancing about architecture. You sit through the whole thing, watching a rock star’s life unfold before you. How can that compare to the thrill of standing in a sweaty pit in the presence of a magnificent human being who calls out to us, one by one and all together, inspiring joy and lust and a zillion other feelings that we haven’t yet invented words for? Who wants to sit down and watch a movie about an art form that makes you wanna shout?

But rock biopics, done right, can jump the synapse between how movies work on us and how music moves us. Rocketman—the story of shy Reginald Dwight from North London, who would become showman and songman extra ordinaire Elton John—sparks that duotone euphoria. Directed by

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