Indigo Lilburn-Quick, BA History and Politics
Rating: 4/5, Running time: 2 hours 13 minutes.
This vibrant biopic follows the rise Freddie Mercury, frontman of the British rock group Queen, on his turbulent path to international stardom. His journey is filled with success and personal struggle, from his romantic endeavours to the often-damaging effect of fame, making the film a rollercoaster of emotions. Scattered throughout are renditions of Queen’s greatest hits which are upbeat and emotive and do a great justice to the late Freddie Mercury’s unique talents and fascinating charisma.
Despite a lukewarm response from critics, Bohemian Rhapsody is a joy to watch. The box office figures demonstrate that the public love the film but critics cannot seem to accept that sometimes a film does not need to be anything more than enjoyable and are too busy looking for deeper meaning to appreciate this unapologetically feel-good movie. Like Queen themselves, it is kitsch and cheesy-culminating in an electric re-enactment of their Live Aid performance in 1985 that begs you to sing along.
There has been a public outcry that the film glosses over the more graphic details of Mercury’s sex life and I agree, there is definitely still space for a more poignant and in-depth portrayal of Mercury’s sexuality. Moreover, the change in timelines to use Mercury’s AIDS diagnoses as inspiration for the band’s reemergence is certainly problematic. However, with a certificate of 12A, the film certainly has family audiences in mind so it is unsurprising his sex life is not covered in greater depth. Mercury’s sexuality is certainly not ignored and the film explores both healthy and toxic gay relationships in a way which is rarely seen in films aimed at all ages. Most audiences will come away with a nuanced idea of Mercury’s sexuality even if the film falls short when it comes to the finer details.
“His acting is captivating and he has managed to recreate Mercury’s idiosyncrasies to the point where the two are almost indistinguishable.”
The stand out feature, that really brings the film to life, is definitely Rami Malek’s thrilling impersonation of Freddie Mercury. His acting is captivating and he has managed to recreate Mercury’s idiosyncrasies to the point where the two are almost indistinguishable. Each gesture is performed with such accuracy you cannot take your eyes off him. His portrayal is emotive, humorous and refined. The interaction between the cast feels organic and adds a light-hearted comedy to balance out the drama. Ultimately, if you like Queen you’ll love this movie. It may not go down as a masterpiece but it is incredibly enjoyable, so ignore the pretentious criticism and lose yourself in the colourful world of Queen.
Photo Credit: Creative Commons.