One cannot simply hear a Queen song and get it out of their heads. However, the iconic rock band was not always unforgettable. As their new biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody shows, they started out a little rough around the edges.
“What makes Queen any different from all of the other wannabe rockstars I meet?” the manager of Queen, John Reid (played in the movie by Aiden Gillen) asked when he met the band at the beginning of their career.
Queen’s front man answered, “We’re four misfits who don’t belong together; we’re playing for the other misfits. They’re the outcasts, right at the back of the room. We’re pretty sure they don’t belong either. We belong to them.” Rami Malek, plays the legendary Queen front man, Freddie Mercury, and his comments are certainly true.
Despite critics’ mixed reviews and some historical inaccuracies, Bohemian Rhapsody is a movie that can resonate with long-time Queen fans while bringing in a new generation of fans. It keeps Mercury’s unique spirit alive and showcases the sense of brotherhood and family of the band itself.
As a viewer, it’s hard to not to leave the theater without walking with your shoulders back and your head a little higher because Freddie, whether in real life or on screen, still inspires confidence and individuality in a way many entertainers cannot. Queen, particularly Mercury, broke barriers and boundaries and crossed genres, never fitting into one category, and this comes across on the screen.
Queen’s most iconic song and biggest boundary breaker, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a centerpiece for the film, and the scene where the song is being recorded is one of the best. The scene gives insight into the musical genius of Freddie Mercury’s mind, as the viewer witnesses the birth of one of the greatest songs of all time. The scene also gives the film some humor, though there’s plenty more throughout the movie due to Freddie’s outrageous antics. “How many more Galileos do you need?” Roger Taylor (played by Ben Hardy) protests in the middle of the movie as Mercury pushes him to sing higher and higher. “Who even is Galileo?” Seriously, a lot of people still don’t know why the scientist is in this song.
While “Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of the main focuses of the film, many more of the band’s greatest hits are featured, including “Somebody to Love,” “We Will Rock You,” “We are the Champions,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” and “Killer Queen.” This makes the tone feel less like a 2 hour and 15 minute movie, and more like a mini rock concert that highlights the band’s biggest career moments and personal struggles.
Rami Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury is outstanding, especially as Malek enraptures the crowd in an uncanny resemblance of Mercury on stage. The way he moves, speaks, works the crowd, it’s like Mercury has been reincarnated. But Malek isn’t the only star.
Actors Gwilym Lee (as Queen guitarist, Brian May), Joseph Mazzello (as bassist, John Deacon), and Ben Hardy (as drummer, Roger Taylor) are so good that viewers feel like they’re traveling back in time. The actors physically resemble each band member they play, and they produce the same chemistry that’s made the band so lovable across generations. Throughout the film, “family” is mentioned over and over, and the actors’ pull it off flawlessly.
On top of the actors’ performances, the performance scene of Live Aid is almost identical, and is electrifying and magnetic, much like the real one was over 30 years ago. If both performances were viewed side by side, you almost wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. It’s simply fantastic.
As every movie does, Bohemian Rhapsody has its flaws, which lies mostly in the historical inaccuracies used to dramatize the band’s career. Some of these include the band breaking up and using Live Aid as a reunion, the formation of the band, and speeding up Freddie Mercury’s AIDS diagnosis by over two years.
Despite these inaccuracies, the film is an all-around good time and celebration of being who you are, something Mercury would undoubtedly be proud of. Viewers will leave the theater with the band’s iconic anthems in their heads and the band’s message of being unique in their hearts.
“It’s an experience – love, tragedy, joy… it’s something that people will feel belongs to them,” Malek as Freddie states, and he’s right. This is a movie that belongs to the people and not the critics, just as the band always has.