The biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” follows the legendary band Queen, specifically the standout lead singer Freddie Mercury, during the most important 15 years on their road to success up to their Live Aid performance in 1985. The film gives a glimpse of Mercury’s private life and the outside influences that tore apart the band for years.
It is almost impossible to distinguish where actor Rami Malek ends and Mercury begins. From his infamously horrible teeth to his defined facial structure, it’s difficult to imagine that someone else was casted for the part before Malek. He isn’t an exact clone of Mercury; however, his ability to capture his commanding stage presence makes you forget any minute flaw.
On stage, Malek embodies the lead singer from head to toe through his outlandish outfits and the confidence that oozes off of him as he effortlessly glides around the stage. Whenever the band performed, the audience was no longer sitting in reclining movie theater seats, they were transported to a once in a lifetime rock concert mouthing along to every word.
Malek is even able to capture the off stage Mercury, who was a vulnerable, loving man driven by his own search for identity and struggling with his sexuality. He portrays Mercury’s love for his litter of cats, even showing him talking to them on the phone while on tour.
The film does allude to Mercury’s sexuality but doesn’t fully dive into it. He does admit to being bisexual to his wife, Mary Austin, though she insists he is gay and leaves him for it. His intimate interaction with men is limited to almost nothing, in fact if you blink you might miss it.
Mercury can be seen walking through a leather gay bar in one scene and throws a house party that seems to have only men dressed in leather in attendance, but they are simply passing scenes. The film hints at his insane personal life but never truly dives into it.
It is understandable that a PG-13 film cannot fully explore the outrageous parties Mercury and the band used to throw, where it was rumored that little people would walk around with trays of cocaine on their heads and naked waiters and waitresses would be seen.
Much like Mercury’s real life, the film only briefly covered the AIDS crisis. Mercury did not release a public statement saying that he had contracted the virus until the day before his death. After his medical records were found, the singer denied having AIDS. . In the film, Mercury tells the band about his illness, and while they are all in tears, he insists they stop being glum. There is a show to do, and that’s what matters most. Even during his last few months of life, Mercury just wanted to sing for as long as he still could. Besides coughing up blood, Mercury didn’t show any signs of weakness because the film ends in 1985, six years before the virus took his life.
The film also touches on the loneliness that comes with being a rockstar which is commonly swept under the rug. It is unimaginable having thousands of people chanting your name to complete silence at home with a litter of cats. Mercury went out of his way to make sure he was never alone, not even for a single night.
It was stupendous to see the making of one of the greatest rock songs in history. The band went to a farm deep in the country and worked day and night to make a song they knew the world needed, when the world itself was just not ready. It was so intriguing to see how even though they were running out of tape, Mercury would still force his band members to rehearse every line until it came out utterly perfect. His perfectionism is one of the main reasons why Bohemian Rhapsody is still a major hit to this day.
The legendary rock anthems that play throughout the film are enough to make any Queen fan go out and watch it. However, if they would’ve gone all in and made a rated R film that accurately depicted the band’s life, the biopic would be flawless. All things considered, the film sheds plenty of light on the secret life of Mercury and introduces the influential band to a new generation of listeners. 9/10.
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