Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy
Director: Bryan Singer
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury, who defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound, their near-implosion as Mercury’s lifestyle spirals out of control, and their triumphant reunion on the eve of Live Aid, where Mercury, facing a life-threatening illness, leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. In the process, cementing the legacy of a band that were always more like a family, and who continue to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day.
Bohemian Rhapsody continues the trend where a bunch of biopics are released in a short period to fight for their spot for Oscar gold early next year. These movies are always back loaded, which means it takes something truly special for one of these to stand out. While I am not sure Bohemian Rhapsody will end up with the clout to make a serious splash, I can guarantee that audiences and fans of Queen will love it. Powered by an elite performance by Malek and one of the best soundtracks of the year, Bohemian Rhapsody may walk away empty-handed, but sometimes the people have more valuable opinions than the professionals.
The film follows the rise of Freddie Mercury (Malek) and his rise from baggage handler at Heathrow Airport to lead singer of one of the largest bands in the world and all of the struggles that come attached to this new lifestyle. This movie is truly defined by how well Malek emulates the mannerisms and behaviors of Mercury. I always felt as though I was right there with the band every step of the way and this is based almost exclusively on the way Malek embraces his role. Mercury’s flamboyant, charming personality is on full display and I have a hard time believing that anyone else could have mastered this role as well as Malek did. While the Academy Awards are still many months away, I hope that Malek is at least nominated for Best Actor and as of right now, he may be my favorite performance of the year. The supporting actors are all good in their own right, but Malek is just in a league of his own and completely captivates the audience whenever he is on-screen. Outside of Malek though, I truly feel as though the story could have benefited from an R-rating instead of the PG-13 rating it got. The members of Queen lived an R-rated life filled with rampant drug use and sex with hundreds of people. The fact that the movie had to be subtle about their activities and imply that certain things took place is borderline disrespectful to the lives these people actually lived as they were about as subtle as an air horn with their debauchery. Outside of the rating issue, I was surprised how after I watched the film, I found out how many historical inaccuracies there were involving either the timeline of events of characters who were never real to begin with. I understand biopics have to take some creative liberties to move the plot forward and make things up for the sake of making the movie more entertaining, but these are easily identifiable facts that you can find on a Wikipedia article. I have to guess that these changes are in some way related to the amount of turnover that this film had with its director, but it is still no excuse for the multiple inaccuracies that exist in this movie. While the movie is at least fun enough to enjoy despite these inaccuracies, I believe the plot could have tightened up these details and presented us with a more accurate depiction of one of music’s greatest performers.
Overall, Malek in the lead role is what makes this movie as enjoyable as it is. It is dramatic, entertaining, and will keep Queen songs in your head long after you leave the theater. Looking at the amount of changes this film went through to eventually become a reality, I believe that both new Queen fans and die-hard fans alike can come together to enjoy this movie and appreciate the contributions that Mercury made to music during his life.
Overall Score: 7/10