Movie Review: Bohemian Rhapsody (Magnolia Pictures)

by Cathleen Rockwell

Released: November 2018, Rated: R (Biography, Music, Drama)

Starring: Rami MalekLucy BoyntonGwilym LeeBen Hardy and Joseph Mazzello

Director: Bryan Singer, Written by: Anthony McCartenPeter Morgan and Anthony McCarten​ 

The film Bohemian Rhapsody tells the story of Freddie Mercury and Queen – how they met, their rise to fame,  and the all the bumps in the road along the way that seem to challenge every rock n’ roll success saga. It is also filled with many classic Queen songs, which in and of itself would be worth the price of admission.

One evening, after catching a show at a club, Mercury approaches two musicians, Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) in the parking lot. He tells them how much he enjoyed their show and during the conversation finds out the band’s lead singer has quit. Mercury spontaneously recommends himself, auditions for the job, and after the addition of bass player, John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello), the classic lineup of Queen is formed. 

The amount of research and studying it takes to turn one’s self into Freddie Mercury is no easy task. Just ask Rami Malek, who played Mercury in RhapsodyMercury was a kind, eccentric, dramatic, funny, shy and charismatic man, who had singing pipes just about unparalleled in the history of popular music. He was an icon and remains vastly loved and popular to this day. But Malek was up to the task – capturing every move, sound and look. His performances were so spot on and mesmerizing that at times you need to remind yourself it’s not actually Freddie Mercury but an actor playing his role.

In addition, the costume designers, make-up artists, production team and cinematographers did incredible work capturing the music era of the 1970s and 1980s, making it all more believable.

Lee does a phenomenal job of recreating Brian May’s performances both in the studio and on stage. Of course, it must not have hurt that May personally coached him. Hardy and Mazzello are absolutely stellar on drums and bass.

On a rather humorous note, Mike Myers has a cameo as EMI Executive Ray Foster and references his 1992 movie Wayne’s World by stating Bohemian Rhapsody would never have kids headbanging in the back of cars

The film explores the relationship and friendship of Mercury and Mary Austin. She was his one true lifelong friend, confidant and ex-fiancé. It touches briefly on his private life with his family, his partner Jim Hutton and eventually the disease (AIDS) that took his young life. 

Bohemian Rhapsody is a film for current fans and future fans. In order to capture everything in Mercury’s life both public and private, there would need to be a mini-series or television show of several seasons to do him and the band justice. There’s just too much history to pack into one film.

This movie is very well written and gives fans a small look into the story of Mercury and Queen, while touching on a little of everything. There is a lesson learned from the film for anyone in the entertainment business or anyone who has reached success in their profession. Surround yourself with people who truly care about you and who have your best interests at heart, as they will always be there for you no matter what.

The final few moments of the film (which is a remake of Queen’s 1985 Live Aid performance) are epic. The creativity of the filmmakers brought audiences back to that famous performance as if they are right there at Wembley Stadium witnessing music history.

Freddie Mercury would have been proud.

Official Movie Website

 

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