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Bohemian Rhapsody is a “biopic” about iconic British rock band Queen that was mostly directed by Bryan Singer. Rami Malek stars in the lead role as Freddie Mercury with a supporting cast that includes Mike Myers, Tom Hollander, Aidan Gillen, Allen Leech, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello, Gwilym Lee and Lucy Boynton.
The story of the film focuses on the rise of Queen, their successes and their struggles which all culminates in their historic performance at Live Aid in 1985. Naturally, Freddie Mercury is the focal point of the story told in Bohemian Rhapsody.
My Expectation For Bohemian Rhapsody
I was extremely nervous going into Bohemian Rhapsody because, from the mixed reviews, my fears about this film looked to be confirmed. My fears about Bohemian Rhapsody were purely related to how realistic the portrayal of Queen would be.
A good amount of the reviews stated that this movie was very safe in its portrayal of Queen to the point where it over-glorified the band rather than showing both the good and bad of the band as well as Freddie Mercury.
Still, the music sequences and Rami Malek’s performance seemed to be the things that were universally praised which pleased me. Indeed, judging from the reviews, it seemed that Rami Malek was already guaranteed to be Oscar nominated for Best Actor.
With all of this in mind, I was expecting to be entertained even if I found problems with the narrative of this biopic and how true it would be to the history of Queen.
My Thoughts On Bohemian Rhapsody
So, Rami Malek is a lock for a Best Actor Oscar nomination. He is the entire reason Bohemian Rhapsody succeeds as much as it does. For what it is from an entertainment perspective, the film is good. However, it is a poor biopic.
I completely understand that all biopics are going to take minor liberties with the truth to craft a more compelling narrative. Moreover, with Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor being consultants on the movie, it is also understandable that they would not want to put themselves and the band in a bad light.
However, major, unforgivable liberties are taken in Bohemian Rhapsody to a point of disrespect. The HIV diagnosis of Freddie Mercury, the most important moment in the history of Queen, is changed for greater dramatic effect.
In real-life, Freddie Mercury was diagnosed with HIV in 1987 but, in Bohemian Rhapsody, the diagnosis happens in 1985, before Queen play at Live Aid. In my eyes, this decision to change history is unforgivable and completely ruins any argument for Bohemian Rhapsody being a good biopic.
On top of the rose-tinted glasses look at Queen in this movie, I was left longing for a more in-depth, accurate and mature story about Queen and the life of Freddie Mercury.
The Positives Of Bohemian Rhapsody
But, if I ignore all of this and just purely focus on what Bohemian Rhapsody is trying to do from an entertainment standpoint, it succeeds. As I said earlier, Rami Malek gives a phenomenal performance that carries this film and the entire cast around him were really good too.
However, like Freddie Mercury in real-life, Rami Malek’s star shines brightest in Bohemian Rhapsody and the whole movie soars in the music sequences with the pinnacle coming at the end with Live Aid.
I have complained about accuracy of events in this film but Live Aid was brought to life to in such an incredible and faithful way that I could not help but be moved, especially when ‘Radio Ga Ga‘, my favourite Queen song, started to play.
My Final Thoughts On Bohemian Rhapsody
So, as you can see, I have mixed feelings about Bohemian Rhapsody and I will reiterate that it is a good, entertaining film and, at the same time, a poor biopic. Rami Malek and the music sequences are the reasons you see this film and it is obvious that he will be Oscar nominated for Best Actor. So, if you are an Oscar junkie, then you should see Bohemian Rhapsody.
Thank you for reading this review! You can find my other articles here on Soapbox as well as my reviews which you can also find at my blog theturnertalks.com.