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REVIEW | "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Directed by Bryan Singer and later Dexter Fletcher, “Bohemian Rhapsody” follows lead singer Farrokh Bulsara, or most commonly known as Freddie Mercury, his rock band, Queen, and their journey to fame. This has been one of the most anticipated films of 2018, with super fans all over the globe eager for its release. Named after Queen’s famous hit song, “Bohemian Rhapsody” pays tribute to their music in a truly inspiring, one of a kind film.

The film, set around the 1970s in London, portrays young Freddie Mercury (played by Rami Malek) at the beginning of his career. He has recently joined Brian May (played by Gwilym Lee) Roger Meddows Taylor (played by Ben Hardy) and John Deacon (played by Joseph Mazzello) in a new band named Queen.
As Queen begins to gain more recognition across London and the rest of the world, we see Freddie Mercury’s internal and external struggles under the spotlight, such as his battle with AIDS which ultimately takes his life in 1991.
The film was filled with songs from Queen, including “Somebody to Love,” “Love of My Life,” and “We Will Rock You.” It also touched on a wide range of nuanced themes, covering sexuality to racial acceptance.
Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury was remarkable. His over the top performance and lavish style perfectly replicated that of Freddie Mercurcys’. In an interview with Ellen, he explained that  prior to filming the film he had watched all of Freddie Mercury’s old archived videos online, and had gone to London to take singing lessons. He also worked with a movement coach to perfectly capture Mercury’s mannerisms. His hard work clearly paid off as seen throughout the film.
Although the film celebrates Queen’s music, it is not entirely based on the truth and is “Hollywoodized” in some ways. The film creates false conflicts between some of the characters. In the film, the rest of the band members are angry at Freddie for pursuing his own solo album, and this disagreement causes the band to split up temporarily. In reality, the other members were extremely supportive of him. His album also came four years after Roger’s solo album, so he was not the only one pursuing a solo career.
Furthermore, critics have also said that the film failed to portray Mercury’s sexuality accurately. According to them, the film made it seem as if Freddie Mercury was punished with AIDS because of his sexuality and wild partying ways, and they have also said that the film completely erased his bisexuality.
Although I can see how and why some might feel this way, I do not think that that was the intent of the directors. They clearly wanted to present Mercury in the right way, but they also wanted to make the film entertaining in the limited amount of time they had. The directors put very important aspects of Freddie Mercury’s life in the film, such as the Live Aid concert and the 1985 concert in Rio. Yet, in an attempt to further interest the audience, they  “Hollywoodized” it, making it overly dramatic and filling the film with very cliche statements. This ended up portraying Freddie Mercury’s story inaccurately, which is why some might have taken this out of context.
Although I enjoyed the movie as a whole, I was not a fan of the excessive Hollywoodization that was present in the movie.

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