Movie Review: Bohemian Rhapsody an Entertaining Homage to Mercury
Updated: Nov 15, 2018
Starring: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Allen Leach Tom Hollander and Mike Myers
Queen fans, rejoice! The long-awaited biographical film about music legend, Freddie Mercury, is now here. With how much bolder the film industry has gotten with exploring alternative main characters and more controversial, sensitive topics (remember "Battle of the Sexes"?), it was only a matter of time before Freddie's life was covered.
So what do I think about this homage to Queen's lead singer? There is only one way to find out.
What is it about?
"Bohemian Rhapsody" is, as mentioned, a biographical film that pays homage to one of the world's greatest performers. The film follows the life of Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), and Queen's meteoric rise to stardom.
It begins simply enough, with a peek at Freddie's ordinary life with his sister and ultra-conservative Zoroastrian parents. At this stage of the film, Freddie is quiet and socially awkward, but harbours a dream that contrasts with his seemingly reticent personality. Clearly, these shortcomings aren't enough to deter him from pursuing what he wants, because when he learns that the spot of lead singer is open in a local band that he has been following, he is quick to jump on the opportunity--albeit awkwardly.
His future bandmates are hesitant to recruit him at first, but once he begins to sing, they are sold.
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It does not take them long to land a contract as a band with EMI Records, and it is during this time that Queen's popularity continues to skyrocket--and for cracks of Freddie's true self to begin to come through.
This film is dedicated to showing Queen's journey as a band, and Freddie's struggle to finally embrace himself for who he is during a time that is not accepting of homosexuality.
Is it worth a watch?
If there is one thing that Queen fans have to remember before watching this is that they should approach it with an open mind. As with all films based on a true story, the story of Freddie Mercury and Queen has been tweaked somewhat to suit a movie audience.
Not that this is a bad thing story-wise, but it is something that might set off the most avid of Queen fans. If it's not something that would bother you, then read on.
As a film, "Bohemian Rhapsody" has a lot of positives to offer to make it enjoyable, with perhaps just one fault that dampers its entertainment factor some.
To illustrate, "Bohemian Rhapsody" boasts a stellar cast with Rami Malek giving a performance that is worthy to remember. The chemistry between the actors and actresses is palpable. And most notably--and this is possibly one of the most important factors as it plays a vital role in (the real) Freddie's life--the handling of Freddie's relationship with Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) was done tastefully and with plenty of sensitivity. Despite Freddie's sexual orientation, Mary was an important part of his life, with Freddie going as far as seeing her as his common-law wife due to the deep understanding that they had for each other. It was something that not a single one of Freddie's string of male lovers managed to match, all of them unable to replace Mary's significance in Freddie's life.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" stayed faithful to this part of his life.
Where the film fails is its attempt, or lack of, at Freddie's personal life and internal struggles. Much like how Freddie's life had been handled by the media when he was alive, the film did show what was happening but it hardly gets much further than that. Simply put, what we're getting from Freddie's life in the film is very much surface-level, which affects how emotionally involved the audience would get with it.
All in all, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is a good, entertaining film, but not so much that I would give it an extremely high rating.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" is now showing in cinemas!
Written by Crunch's Melissa Kartini