Bohemian Rhapsody

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.
Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see…

Bohemian Rhapsody is the story of Queen, although if we’re being honest, it favours front man Freddie Mercury quite heavily.

Freddie Mercury was a complicated, effervescent, talented, charismatic man. The film is much more straight-forward than that. He was also sexually flamboyant. While not exactly openly gay, at least not publicly, he did adopt a look that easily identified him as MV5BZjEwODQ3ZDAtYzM4Zi00YWQxLThmZDEtNzhjNGJhMzFkNThjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjc0NzQzNTM@._V1_such. But he was more than gay or straight; he was fluid. He could wear a unitard on stage so confidently that he made people forget to be so judgmental. He won them over with his energy and stage presence. But after the show, Freddie was his own man. He did not lead a PG-13 life, so the PG-13 movie that attempts to immortalize it is of course sanitized. There is not much in the way of sex or drugs but the rock and roll – oh man.

That’s the reason to watch this film. The music is great, and the scenes revolving around the music tend to be its best. The decision to recreate their Live Aid set, widely considered to be the greatest 20 minutes of love music ever, in its entirety is the best thing that ever happened to a music biopic. I felt tears pricking my eyes the minute they stepped onto the stage.

Rami Malek is great. It’ll take a few minutes to see beyond the fake horse teeth he’s wearing of course, those are regrettable, but Malek is a fun casting choice who does indeed bring an intense Freddie energy to the role. The whole cast is great, actually, although I see Mike Myers is determined to make a comeback and I’m really not here for it, though he does have a pretty epic line.

Lucy Boynton has a meaty role as Mary. Mary was Freddie’s lifelong friend; they stayed close until the day he died. In the movie she gets to be Freddie’s significant other, which is great for the actress but less great for an audience who values authenticity. Yes she was a part of his life but she wasn’t his whole life. Mercury would have had many partners of course, but he had a great love, Jim, who lived with him during the last 6 years of his life, and nursed him when he got sick. Freddie died wearing Jim’s wedding ring. But in the film we get only the briefest glimpse of Jim and double eyefuls of Mary. Have they straight-washed a gay icon?

At any rate, if you came for the music, you’ll stay for it, and struggle not to burst out singing. The movie is more of a greatest hits compilation that an intimate evening with Freddie, but when the hits are so good, it’s hard to complain too loudly.

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32 thoughts on “Bohemian Rhapsody

  1. ninvoid99

    I thought about seeing since I am a fan of Queen but the fact that the film is PG-13 and took a very straightforward and conventional approach to the story just doesn’t feel right. Freddie Mercury didn’t lead a PG-13 life. Watch the video for “Body Language” and well…

    Hearing that it ends with Live Aid isn’t enough as Queen did make 3 albums plus a posthumous album after that moment.

    At least we have the videos and that godlike performance at Live Aid available on YouTube.

    Liked by 6 people

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  2. raistlin0903

    A friend of mine is going to see this one today. I like the music of Queen a lot but I’m not really interested in these types of movies to be honest. At least not for really going to the cinema to check it out. Might do so once it hits the dvd, and then of course I’ll be singing along stupidly with all the music 😂😂

    Liked by 3 people

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  3. charliecountryboy

    Oh well, I saw it last night and loved it. I’m a little different when it comes to movies I want to be transported out of real life and into fantasy and entertained. I didn’t go to see a documentary about Fred’s sex life, in fact the scene with the press conference was quite vulgar, I don’t know why they sat through it. I loved the way it started at the beginning and ended where it did, I really didn’t want to see him fade and die, as touching as it may have been. Good review though 😀

    Liked by 3 people

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  4. Sheila Murrey

    I feel much the same as you, especially about Jim. Perhaps the long run time of the film had something to do with that? I hope the DVD will include more with behind the scenes and deleted clips.

    Just posted my review.
    I am unsettled. ❤️🦋🌀

    Liked by 3 people

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  5. 2loud2oldmusic

    Great review. I want to see this, but was so disappointed to hear about the PG-13 life as I figured they would gloss over a lot of the stuff and it sounds like they have. Very disappointing. Still will go see it and I will be getting the Soundtrack because it is really incredible.

    Liked by 3 people

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  6. selizabryangmailcom

    I remember Bohemian Rhapsody playing on the car radio when I was 12 or 13 and being simultaneously confused by and drawn to the over-the-top song. The music part does sound like the core reason to see the movie, but too bad about the sanitizing. I’ve seen several movies lately that have sanitized significant elements, and it’s disconcerting and ultimately deflating.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yeah, they didn’t quite seem sure if this was a tribute to Queen’s songs, or a Freddie Mercury biopic. Certainly the other members of the band will feel short changed, as they likely did in life as well!

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  7. Lorna Cunningham-Rushton

    Go to IMAX, in my opinion, as this movie, for me, was about the music, and IMAX delivered it shakingly well. Many people talk about the teeth, and the teeth were shocking but had they not been, they would not have taken on the almost human role they had in showing us who Freddie was. I am of an age that wanted music to be more than something that plays in the background, that wanted so much for people to be themselves, if only they could figure that out. And I was of the age that experienced the loss to AIDS of people who should never have been dying in their 20s. It was interesting to watch the audience because it was made from teens to people in their 70s, and maybe older. I was not the only one who cried, and obviously not the only one who remembered the amazing success of Live, even though I saw it on TV rather than in person. Go to see it if you’re curious about Freddie, or if you wonder how his music got made, or if you love to see believable emotion on a screen, or if you were there in the 70s but didn’t pay attention to the music part.

    Liked by 3 people

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  8. Bryan Fagan

    So far I have heard great things and I was hoping I would. One of my biggest regrets was not seeing them live. I thought the casting choice was a good one. I’m a huge fan of Rami and I thought he could pull it off.

    Hope to see this movie soon.

    Liked by 2 people

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  9. Liz A.

    Probably the only way to do Freddie Mercury proper credit would be to do a series on, like HBO where they could do all the adult parts. But a two-hour movie will be hard to get all the beats in.

    Liked by 2 people

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  10. J.

    Yeah, I’m not so sure about this one. Dare say I’ll read the Wiki and watch the Live Aid footage on YouTube instead. Maybe catch it when it hits a streaming service.

    Liked by 1 person

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  11. Christopher

    I’m kind of okay with a PG-13 version of Freddy Mercury’s life. Yes, it’s disappointing that they dropped the accuracy in favor of a more “family friendly” version, but–as much as I respect Mercury’s genius and love Queen’s music–I’m mostly interested in the genesis of the song “Bohemian Rhapsody” itself.
    Also I’m interested to see how Kenny Everett is portrayed. His was definitely not a PG-13 life either, and I’m surprised he made it into the film at all. I don’t expect his role to be big but he’s quite a character himself.

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  12. jeanleesworld

    A fine review! Now I’m a homebody, so I don’t know the concert experience as well as others, but considering this concert burns with a passion for the singer more than anyone else (because in truth his bandmates didn’t yet know Mercury himself had AIDs at this point) this film gives viewers that chance to at least touch that passion burning from across the years. I agree it’s a bit sad that focused on the heterosexual relationship–Beautiful Minds did that, too. So let’s hope maybe there’s an edition that DOES do this element of Mercury’s life justice, esp as this relationship with Jim burned bright until Mercury’s death. x

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  13. bernard25

    Bonjour ou Bonsoir
    après le silence de la nuit
    chaque jour renaît
    avec le chant d’un oiseau joyeux
    pour que nos réveils soient gais
    la rosée pour rafraîchir nos pas
    et le soleil au rendez-vous
    moi je te souhaite une très belle journée ou soirée
    Et tout ce que tu désires

    Bisous, BERNARD

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