Bohemian Rhapsody has arguably been one of the most hyped up movies of 2018. From Rami Malek’s controversial casting to the storyline’s focus on Mercury’s life, the film garnered a large amount of controversy before its release. As a viewer, I went into the theater not knowing what to expect, but I was truly surprised by the film’s aim to portray Mercury as iconic as possible. Bohemian Rhapsody follows Mercury’s origin and success as the lead singer of one of the most popular bands of all time. Mercury’s relationship with his bandmates, or “family” as Mercury’s character calls them, is emphasized also throughout the movie.
Bohemian Rhapsody is not perfect, but considering how hard it is to please the legions of Queen fans around the world, it does a pretty good job at portraying Mercury’s creative genius. His relationship with his ex-girlfriend Mary is a pivotal focus of the film, which brings humanity to the iconic Mercury. Although the film aims to portray Mercury as a genius, his relationship with Mary explores the deeper dynamics of his character. It is crucial in a biopic to give such a well-known character multi-dimensional layers.
Malek’s performance stands out, as many critics have noted. From his unreal physical look to his commanding presence, Malek is able to nail important aspects of Mercury’s character. His abstract nature is a focus that Malek is adept at expressing. As for the musical performances, many of them feel genuine and real. I felt as though the film honored the musicality of Mercury without glossing over his quirky demeanor. The costumes and the set, which both added to the authentic nature of the music scenes. are also worthy of praise.
There has been much controversy about the film straying from the truth, which has some merit. The formation of Queen was far more complicated than how the film portrays it, as Mercury stumbled from one failed band to another before Queen’s success. The film’s portrayal of Mercury’s diagnosis is also debatable, which is something I found to be troubling. Mercury’s diagnosis took far longer than is portrayed in the film and his insistence to perform regardless of his symptoms were not shown as persistently as is glossed over by the film. Hollywood films tend to make reality seem simple, so die-hard fans should tread carefully before watching the film and exploring its accuracy.
All in all, the film had some genuinely powerful moments, especially those regarding Mercury’s relationships. However, many may find its inaccuracy disheartening. I recommend the film to fans of biopics and those looking to see iconic sequences recreated on the big screen. Bohemian Rhapsody is entertaining and dazzling but falls flat at times.
COVER PHOTO: Indie Wire