‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Pays Tribute to Freddie Mercury
The long-awaited, Queen-inspired film hit theatres November 2. My friends and I took an impromptu trip, an hour away on November 1 to see the movie for its first Greenwood, Indiana showing. Now, I do like Queen, casually, but I was not waiting anxiously for the release of the movie. I did not even plan on going to see the movie in theatres originally, but a random trip to the movies with my friends (and not paying for my ticket) was motivation to go. Maybe it was the excitement of randomly trekking to the movies late on a Thursday night, or maybe it was the excitement of the reclining movie seats but in contrast with the opinions of most critics, my friends and I loved Bohemian Rhapsody.
The movie follows Freddie Mercury’s life, beginning before his race to stardom, when his name was still Farrokh Bulsara, up to Queen’s iconic Live Aid performance in 1985. The movie is more of a Freddie Mercury biopic than a Queen biopic. It does follow the band’s rise to fame, although through a Mercury lens.
The movie is rated PG-13 which did limit how explicitly Freddie’s life was depicted. While the movie did go into detail about his life, his sexuality, his relationships, it did not explicitly say most things, inferences had to be made. Had the film been rated R, I think it would have been more direct about the things going on in Mercury’s life.
Originally Freddie Mercury was to be portrayed by Sacha Baron Cohen, most known for his role in Borat, who ended up not being cast due to conflicting ideas of how the film should portray Freddie. In conversations with Associated Press, Roger Taylor, Queen’s drummer revealed that he did not think Sacha Baron Cohen was right for the role, “I don’t think he took it seriously enough — didn’t take Freddie seriously enough.” Ultimately, Rami Malek ended up filling the role of Freddie Mercury and he did it beautifully. There were points in the film that Malek was so similar to Mercury that I was freaked out. I loved every part of his performance and I am not the only one. Roger Taylor and Brian May were “blown away” by Malek’s performance per an interview with Cinemablend.
The film highlights Mercury’s relationship with Mary Austin, in a heart-warming yet devastating way as he struggles with his sexuality and his love for Mary. Paul Pretner becomes the love interest in Mercury’s life and the main villain in the film. Paul Pretner, in the film and in real life, was a part of Queen’s management team. In the film, Pretner is put to blame for causing issues between the band, and he is made to be the cause for Freddie’s destructive path as a whole. As the relationship with Pretner and Mercury goes on, Freddie’s health deteriorates and he becomes more and more distant from the band.
The film ends with the Live Aid performance, Malek does a phenomenal job of recreating this iconic performance. The Live Aid performance is a great ending because it offers resolution; Mary is present at the performance, and so is Jim Hutton, who Freddie spends the rest of his life with. This part of the film seems to offer closure as well as forecast a new, better beginning for the rest of Mercury’s life. While it is a good ending for the film, it leaves the rest of Freddie’s life out of the film because the performance took place in 1985 and Mercury did not die until 1991. It leaves an open ending in regards to his solo career, his love life, his health… and most of all what comes of Queen.