“Bohemian Rhapsody” is an entertaining and heartwarming film that tells the story of the larger-than-life band Queen. The film, released Nov. 2, contains a stellar cast, fantastic music and a great balance of comedy and drama.
The film tells the story of the rock band and their rise from poor musicians to one of the most iconic acts of all time. The film focuses on the band’s lead singer Freddie Mercury, played by Rami Malek, and his struggle to come to terms with his sexuality and find himself as a performer.
Malek steals the show as Mercury. From prosthetic teeth made to create Mercury’s iconic smile to his flamboyant personality and costumes, Malek transforms into the artist. While Malek doesn’t dare replicate Mercury’s iconic four-octave vocals, which he credits to his extra teeth, he does a fantastic job of lip syncing.
He gives a tender performance as the musician, demonstrating Mercury’s lively stage presence as a charade to mask his loneliness. Mercury’s only friends are his girlfriend-turned-companion Mary Austin, played by Lucy Boynton, and his bandmates. Not since Jaime Foxx played Ray Charles in the 2004 film “Ray” has an actor done so much to embody a musical artist in film.
Mercury’s sexuality is portrayed in a respectful manner as the audience sees the progression of the artist realizing who he is. At the beginning of the film, Mercury falls in love with Austin, and they get engaged, leading Mercury to write the song “Love of My Life” for her.
When he realizes he’s gay, they break up in one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the film because it demonstrates how sometimes breakups aren’t anybody’s fault; people drift apart.
The two remain close, and Austin’s role throughout the film is to keep Mercury sane as he goes through life. When Mercury is separated from the band and working on a solo album, Austin goes to his house and convinces him to reunite with the band because they are his family.
When Mercury does come out, he gets into a relationship with his manager Paul Prenter, played by Alan Leech, who is manipulative and creates tension between Mercury and the rest of Queen. Leech plays a despicable character and succeeds in driving Mercury away from the other members. But when Mercury returns to the group, Prenter gives the media information about Mercury’s sexuality.
The standout partner of Mercury’s is Jim Hutton, played by Aaron McCusker, who becomes Mercury’s long-term boyfriend. Hutton tells Mercury a hard truth: In order to love others, he must first love himself.
The relationship between Hutton and Mercury is one not built on lies like it was with Prenter, but rather is one of trust and love.
The rest of Queen consists of guitarist Brian May, bassist John Deacon and drummer Roger Taylor, played by Gwilym Lee, Joseph Mazzello and Ben Hardy, and all actors gave memorable performances. All interactions between Mercury and the rest of the band are comedic highlights of the film. Like all bands, the members of Queen had arguments, but the way the arguments end in the film is hilarious.
One instance of this is when Taylor doesn’t want to play Deaconn’s song “Another One Bites the Dust” because it sounds too much like disco. The band is angry at Mercury because he did something without their consent, and this results in pushing and shoving between May, Taylor and Mercury. The three stop when they hear Deacon playing the iconic, head-bobbing bass riff to “Another One Bites the Dust.” May breaks the silence by saying, “Yeah, that is a cool riff actually.” The cast had pitch perfect chemistry. Even though the actors were on set for just four months, according to IMDb, one could swear they were lifelong friends based on their interactions. When “Bohemian Rhapsody” is being recorded and Taylor is taping his falsetto Galileos. Mercury wants him to go higher leading him to say, “If I go any higher, only dogs will hear me.”
The concerts shown in the film burst out of the screen with energy. During Queen’s first American tour, a split-screen ratio is used to show multiple aspects of the performance, such as May’s virtuoso guitar skills and Mercury’s mesmerizing interactions with the crowd.
When Queen performs in Rio and the entire crowd starts singing “Love of My Life” while the band stands in awe, it’s one of the most beautiful moments of the film because of how so many people who don’t even have English as their first language know the words. The best depiction of Queen is during the finale at the 1985 Live Aid Concert, now considered to be one of the finest performances in rock. The entire sequence is a recreation of the footage taken of the concert but the passion of the actors adds a new take on the iconic set. When Mercury starts his vocal improvisation with the audience and delivers what is famously referred to as the note heard around the world, it shows the range Mercury had and the power he gave to the audience because when Mercury did his improvisation, the crowd would always repeat what he sang.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of the best films of this year and a biopic worthy of a man like Mercury. It’s a film that pays tribute to Queen and is a production that most will love. When the film ends, it is guaranteed people will stay in the theater as the credits roll just to hear the songs that play with them. The film is less of a biopic and more of a celebration for Queen, their music and the legacy they left behind.