I remember very clearly long time ago when my brother (who has always been a Queen fan) repeatedly asked me to listen to Bohemian Rhapsody just once and I FINALLY gave in. I saw the length of the song and I said ‘Ok, ain’t gonna happen’, so I skipped parts of it and got annoyed by the different genres that were mixed. Fast forward to today, Queen is my favorite rock band. You get the point. I am now very fond of Queen’s music because they’re freaking amazing. Let’s talk about the bohemian masterpiece.
In 2016-2017 when I first read that Rami Malek was cast as Freddie Mercury I remember looking like a big question mark as I found it extremely bizarre to imagine Mr. Robot on stage. But hey, who died and made me a casting director? In any case, I’d rather see Mr. Robot with his pale face and hoodie trying to shake it on stage than seeing anything with Sacha Baron Cohen again, since he was originally cast for the role. I usually start my reviews with a brief description of the storyline of the movie but today I want to start with praising Rami Malek for his absolutely perfect performance. First of all, we can all agree that he had big shoes to fill playing Freddie Mercury as he was hell of a personality and Malek’s task to immortalize it was undoubtedly difficult and terrifying. Second of all, he nailed it and I can already smell an Oscar nomination for best actor. Rami will mesmerize you as Mercury and you simply cannot help but love him. Casting Malek was tasteful and felt like the right choice throughout the entire movie.
Now, while many people think that Bohemian Rhapsody is a Freddie Mercury biopic, the truth is that it is a movie about the whole band. We follow their journey from the mere beginning when Brian May and Roger Taylor met Freddie to the iconic Live Aid performance in 1985, which is recreated and showed (almost) from beginning to end. We follow the band’s ups and downs, their agreements and disagreements, as well as the creation of their biggest hits, which makes it erroneous to claim it’s a movie about Freddie Mercury. It’s a tribute to Queen and their music.
While Bohemian Rhapsody has a 8.4 IMDb rating and extremely positive reviews all over the world, some have criticized the fact that it’s too heterosexual because we don’t get to see Freddie make out with so many men in the movie. Frankly, we don’t see him being sexual with his girlfriend Mary Austin either and yet no one is calling it… asexual? In my opinion, we do not need to see Freddie have sex with all his lovers, nor do we need to see him do drugs in order to know that he did. The movie is written in a way that, although you don’t see it entirely, it is very clear what kind of lifestyle he lead. We see the person behind the parties, drugs, and sex; we see the vulnerability and loneliness. However, Sacha Baron Cohen wanted to make an R rated movie (SURPRISE SURPRISE) about Mercury to show the darker side of the late singer but backed out because the band members didn’t want the movie to be a joke.
We get a taste of Freddie’s lifestyle after becoming an icon, and it is ignorant to say that we needed to see more of his darker side. We see the parties, we witness the arrogance, we hear about the drugs, etc etc. That doesn’t make him different from other major rockstars. But most importantly, we see Freddie’s soft side and his everlasting love for Mary Austin, his love for his family and friends, and for his music. His strength never allowed his AIDS diagnosis to affect his love for music. Freddie was much more than drugs and parties, and that’s the side of Freddie we see in Bohemian Rhapsody.
Ending the movie with the Live Aid performance was moving in so many ways. I cannot describe how many people in the theatre cried and I personally wished that I was born earlier because, after watching Bohemian Rhapsody, you come home with such an emptiness and feeling of disappointment because you simply realize that stars on the level of Freddie Mercury don’t exist anymore.
Bohemian Rhapsody is the best movie I have seen in a very long time and I hope it gets at least three nominations at next year’s Oscars: Best actor, best picture, and best costume design. I guess it would be cheating to nominate it for best original score, too? I cannot recommend this Queen biopic enough because I promise you that, even though you don’t know their music, you’ll be moved to tears.