Movie Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

By Jessica Jones, Contributor
[GK Films; 2018]
Rating: 6.5/10

First things first: Rami Malek? Knocked it out of the park. Bohemian Rhapsody, the long-awaited biopic about Queen, just barely scratches the surface of the European rock group’s history. Though it’s filled with flashy concert scenes and a mind-blowing recreation of the 1985 Live Aid concert, this film managed to garner many mixed reviews opening weekend.

Read more: Movie Review: First Man

The film opens up with a young Farrokh Bulsara – better known by his stage name, Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) – attending a local band’s gig at a bar and then introducing himself to the members after the show. He learns that the band is in need of a new lead singer, and after a successful audition, guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) decide to let him join, marking the birth of a legendary rock band. Flash forward (lots of flashing forward in this film, by the way) to years later and we see that Queen has become a bit of an experimental band. Keep flashing forward and we get to a crowd-pleasing scene showing the ideas and madness behind the creation of the beloved hit “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

This film isn’t substandard by any means, however, the timeline is very skewed. Within the first 20 minutes of the film there’s already a handful of inaccuracies, such as the movie depicting the band playing in many US cities that they didn’t actually perform at until years later, and there are way too many times the band plays a song that didn’t actually come out until a later date, severely messing up the timeline. To viewers who also happen to be diehard Queen fans, these mistakes come off as very careless. How hard is it to fact check, people?

Another big disappointment is the lack of realness this movie has, regarding the struggles of the band and its members. We do get a look at Freddie’s personal life, but it is only a glimpse into the fascinating life he led. The conversation about Freddie’s life with AIDS is nearly nonexistent. One could argue that the target audience would obviously have previous knowledge of this, but to not make it a bigger factor in this film seemed like a disservice. Overall, the film is extraordinarily PG, erasing the sex and drugs from sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.

Before you get too let down, be advised that the ending is truly magical. If you weren’t able to make it to the actual Live Aid concert, don’t fret! The movie version is damn close to the real, except for the fact that, well, it’s not Queen. The cinematography is vibrant and lively, and the acting is undeniably convincing across the board. Bohemian Rhapsody shows the watered-down story of how one of the greatest bands of all time came to be, but if you want to see Malek embody the essence of Freddie Mercury to a T, don’t pass this one up.

Watch the trailer here:

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