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Film Review: Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I discovered my aunt’s CDs collection. Back then, having a CDs collection was quite something (I’m not that old though). I found a blue covered CD with a powerful looking logo, similar to an emblem. The title was as impressive: ‘QUEEN’.

I “borrowed” the CD and I found myself listening to it for days. I was hooked to the unusual songs and most of them were very familiar. It was an anniversary CD, with Queen’s best songs.

Queen is among one of my favourite bands (besides ABBA and Beatles – the oldies but goldies). I grew up listening to their songs, without even knowing the band itself. So imagine how excited I was when I saw – back in May – the first trailer of the film.

Even from the first preview, it looks like the film promises a lot and that the Academy better start polishing Rami Malek‘s Oscar statue from now.

After a week, we’re still listening to Queen at home, in the office, while commuting, in the bathroom and pretty much everywhere else where you can have your headphones on, to be honest. 

Please note! I can’t promise this review will be spoiler-free. So if you’re one of those people who can’t stand to find out the tiniest spoiler, I highly recommend to close your eyes while reading the rest of the review. 

Fast Forward

The film starts quite slow and chill. We meet a young Farrokh Balsara (Freddie’s birth name) who’s working a mediocre job at Heathrow airport in London. Young Ferrokh is spending most of his evening and night out, wearing fancy outfits,  despite his father disapproval.

After that, everything is on fast forward. In the next five minutes Freddie squeezes himself as the lead singer of Smile (former name of Queen) and after five more they’re already recording their first album and have televised appearances.

You get the feeling that the film does not focus on the whole process,sweat and tears of the band to build their success. But Bohemian Rhapsody already has a good two hours length. Queen was such a huge legend, that is close to impossible to cover all their good and bad moments, to be honest.

There’s a minute or two, where they suggest the international success they’re having. The Japan tour happened, as John Reid Littlefinger suggested at some point.

So, yes, everything seems in a hurry and fast forwarded in this film. Sometimes you might end up questioning if they jumped to a different stage or it’s still “the present”.

Prosthetics Team Got Carried Away

Rami Malek is such a brilliant choice for the role! His exotic looks match Freddie’s appearance.

Anyway, I think the prosthetics team got carried away a little when it came to the teeth.

It’s true that Freddie Mercury’s teeth were not perfect. It’s said that his unusual teeth were the cause of his extraordinary voice. Thus the singer’s constant refusal to have them “fixed”. But Malek was quite uncomfortable with the prosthetic, you can easily notice that in certain scenes. For sure it’s not easy to have a second row of teeth.

LGBT and Mary Austin

It looks like the LGBT community was disappointed that the film didn’t cover more of Freddie’s sexuality and focused more on his relationship with Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton). Bohemian Rhapsody is not a film about gay rights or awareness of AIDS. This aspect is highlighted a number of times in interviews and even Brian May and Roger Taylor (which were producers as well) highlighted they didn’t want the film to be about the gossip and private life. 

There’s a scene in the film when Freddie (Malek) confessing the terrible diagnosis to his band mates, is telling them he wants to keep it private because he doesn’t want to become the “poster boy” the the next AIDS campaign, he just wants to make music.

Source: The Sun

So the film turned out to be just as Mercury expected: about music not about outrageous scandals and mysteries.

It’s true that there’s quite some focus on Freddie’s relationship with Mary Austin, but their relationship was fascinating and lasted even after Mercury passed away. I personally believe their relationship is way more interesting that a gay relationship.

Anyway, for those who really had no idea Freddie Mercury was gay, there are a couple of gay kisses in the film, to cut any suspicions. 

Best Team Work Lesson

Personally, I had no idea how much of a team Queen was. They all wrote songs and Mercury of the one who gave voice to the lyrics.

Bohemian Rhapsody bring intimate details about the create process and what really happened between them, beyond interviews and documentaries.

I loved this side of the film, to be honest. Pure example of amazing team work, with its ups and downs included.

Altered Timeline

Some people might not applaud the decision to alter the real timeline of Freddie’s life. Quite a few things didn’t happened when the film presents them. Not all the events presented before Live Aid performance happened as the film pictures them.

This happened because there were so many memorable moments they had to cover. Of course they had to mention the AIDS diagnosis and the moment the band found out, they had to include Jim Beach and so on. When you have to squeeze everything in just two hours, altered timeline is something very common to biographic films.

bohemian rhapsody live aid
Source: Variety

Conclusion

For those who didn’t had the patience to read the entire review, or for those who simply scrolled to the bottom of the article, here’s what you have to know about Bohemian Rhapsody – the film:

  • it’s not a film about the gay community, coming out or about the threat of AIDS – sorry
  • Rami Malek is perfect for the role – exotic looks, exaggerated mimics, quite perfect acting
  • the entire film respects Freddie Mercury’s legacy, just like he wanted: honoring his music and legacy, not his personal life and scandals
  • expect lots of goosebumps
  • the final and the central scene of the film – the Live Aid performance, will take you places, literally – all the feels
  • very good casting – as Brian May said, Gwilym Lee is him in his youth
  • even if you think this film can’t surprise you (everyone knows the songs, Freddie’s diagnosis and tragic death) it will. It’s strong, powerful and emotional

If Bohemian Rhapsody will get an Oscar or not, we will see. The British Academy on the other hand, must at least nominate the film for some categories, just sayin’.

You don’t have to be young or old, a parent, or a teenager to enjoy the film at its fullest. Everyone know’s “We Will Rock You” or “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the movie recreates brilliant concerts, sending you all the feels.

If after a week after watching the film you’re still listening to Queen songs and your brain is still singing the ‘song’ below, I think it’s safe to say the film did its job incredibly well.

Aaay-Ooooh! 
👨🏻

Have you seen it yet? 

This is my first film review in English, and I would really appreciate to know if you enjoyed it and if you’d like to see similar content more often. Let me know in the comments, please!

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