Bohemian Rhapsody – 8

I give this a zero for originality and a 100 for hitting all the right chords, and when the chords in question are booming ’80s arena-rock anthems by Queen, you’ve got a head start on a really fun movie. It’s also a feel-good movie, despite the difficult private life and AIDS-related death of the lead character, Freddie Mercury, largely because all the people around him are wholesome, loyal and talented. The other three band members don’t change, don’t do drugs, don’t backbite, and they all contribute musically and write hit songs. Freddie’s wife is selfless and sweet in an impossible situation, and his eventual male lover is centered and mature. (Compare all this with the Temptations’ story, Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.) I was never a Queen fan, but here their music is winning and powerful – maybe partly because we never have to listen to a song in full. Ironically, their first label head, played in full disguise by Mike Meyers, refuses to release “Bohemian Rhapsody” because it’s too long, while the movie of the same name can’t manage to fit it all in, either. My only cavil was the attention wasted on Mercury’s bite. Whenever he wasn’t singing, it looked like Rami Malek was fiddling with his retainer.

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