With the release of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” fans and critics alike were skeptical as to whether or not the biopic would do justice to the incredible life story of Freddie Mercury or just be another Wikipedia-like biopic that lacks substance. Ultimately, “Bohemian Rhapsody” fell somewhere in the middle with audiences. Starring Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury), Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor), Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon), and Gwilym Lee (Brian May), “Bohemian Rhapsody” was a meticulously produced movie that was widely marketed towards the fans, both young and old. The casting of Rami Malek as Mercury excited younger fans and helped to draw in a younger audience.
Many fans and critics were confused as to whether the film would be focused on the band’s lead singer Freddie Mercury, or on all members of Queen. After all, the biopic was largely marketed to portray Mercury as the sole focus of the film. When the film released, audiences were surprised to see a large focus on Mercury’s relationships with the band members and his romantic relationships. The movie itself even managed to show Mercury’s struggles with his sexuality while also juggling his career, which is relatively unheard of, even in modern media.
Another issue that Queen fans had with the film was its factual inaccuracy. Although the movie did portray the characters lives well, some fans noticed a few instances of date switching, most prevalently, the reveal of Mercury’s struggle with HIV minutes before the live aid performance, rather than much later as it was revealed in real life. There is also some inaccuracy when it comes to Mercury’s solo career when the movie portrayed his solo career as parting from the band, when in real life, Roger Taylor, the drummer of the band, was the first to release a solo album.
Even if the movie has some downfalls, it is somewhat like a live Queen concert, showing how many Queen songs came to be and the stories behind the lyrics. There is also a recreation of the iconic Live Aid performance at the end of the movie to show the impact the band had on many fans’ lives. The scenes are all incredibly stunning and the costume work, without a doubt, helps Rami Malek to channel Freddie Mercury’s persona. The film itself is worth watching just for the costumes and the music and will transform any Queen fan, young or old, back to where it all began.
Overall, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was an excellent portrayal of the Queen story, even if it was confused on what it was trying to portray. The film is worth seeing just to see Rami Malek as Mercury in all his lavish glory, even if the story was not necessarily completely accurate. However, regardless of the accuracy of the story, “Bohemian Rhapsody” has aspects that are rarely seen, such queer relationships and HIV in the rock industry. The film ultimately is a better watch if it is thought of as a stand-alone film, unattached to the origin story of Queen. In summary, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was not afraid of critical audiences, and ultimately it produced an inspiring film that highlighted the vulnerable parts of Freddie Mercury’s life, no matter how controversial.
Watch the trailer for “Bohemian Rhapsody” here:
Grace Beilman // Staff Writer