Love of My Life
If I could go back in time and see one band live it would definitely be Queen. There’s no denying how influential and powerful their music was for the world and the impact it had on others. Furthermore, Freddie Mercury was so unique and spontaneous it just made the crowd feel energized. All of these characteristics are brilliantly encapsulated and showcased in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. It presents how fun it would have been to see Queen and the authenticity Mercury had for his music and audience. While following the events of Mercury’s life, Bohemian Rhapsody presents a “safe” history of how Queen came together that never really delves in deep into the psyche of the band. Nonetheless the performance by Rami Malek, the dramatic tension, and the joy of listening to the greatest hits make this film one worth seeing.
The film primarily follows Freddie Mercury from his humble beginnings to the end of his life. It shows how he met his bandmates, the success Queen found, the troubles he encountered, and explores the personality of one of the most legendary rock stars in history.
From the beginning, Rami Malek kills the role of Freddie Mercury able to personify the dynamic quirkiness of his personality while also making him seem human and broken during the more dramatic scenes. When Malek is on stage it is uncanny whether you are actually looking at Mercury or an actor; he easily slips into the role and loses himself to portraying Mercury accurately. Everything is almost an exact representation, from the dance moves to the mannerisms he portrays to others. He carries the movie and it is entertaining and powerful to watch. Expect him to receive numerous nominations and awards.
The members of the film, unfortunately, do not get the same attention as Mercury does. They more serve as side “henchman” rather than fully realized characters. While this is the story of Mercury primarily, it becomes hard to root for Queen as a band when the chemistry between the members is not truly explored. We are constantly told that Queen was a family, but we never see them act as one other than making music together and negotiating deals with record companies. The real life former band members acted as consultants to this movie, and have stated they wanted to make this film more about Mercury and his legacy rather than the band as a whole. The movie does not lose a whole lot in doing so thankfully to Malek’s performance, but it does lack some of the depth that could have been.
The thing that really impressed me with this movies and the aspect I was most looking forward to was how Queen made their music and the meanings behind some of the song lyrics. This is where the movie is at its peak and you get a glimpse of the chemistry the band shares and the passion they had for their music. Hearing classic songs such as We Will Rock You and Another One Bites the Dust are definitely crowd pleasing moments, but hearing the meaning and significance of songs like Break Free, Love of My Life, and even the titular song Bohemian Rhapsody gives an authentic appreciation for the message they were trying to convey. It makes listening to those songs more impactful and changes the way you look at Queen and Freddie Mercury in a good way.
The story does have some pacing issues. The rise and success of Queen is surprisingly fast which accurately correlates with the band’s history. This is a lot of fun to see the successes, the making behind the music, and the electricity in Mercury’s performance. But the movie does go through the normal beats of a “rise to stardom story”, making some of the drama familiar and leaving more to be desired. The drama is definitely good, but I wish they had explored more of Mercury’s sexuality and other struggles of his life in scenes other than montages. There is no true conflict in the film until the last third, and even that can feel a bit over dramatic.
There is a problem you encounter with documentaries with inaccuracies and dramatic extenuation of material. There will be inaccuracies for the sake of cinematic experience, and details that will be glossed over to preserve Mercury’s legacy. The film leaves you wanting to see more aspects of Mercury’s life rather than some of the one’s presented. Instead of focusing in on his addiction problems, for example, the movie could have explored his relationship with his husband. To be clear, the material they do give is good and entertaining but you are left wanting more since the film moves paces itself weirdly.
The standout moment though is the ending when you see Queen come together for the Live Aid concert. The energy in the crowd, the enthusiasm of Mercury, the impact of their music, and the sheer fun of it all makes this 30 minute segment worth seeing in theaters. It gave me goosebumps not only hearing the music, but knowing the meaning and significance behind it makes it all the more powerful and inspiring to see.
Bohemian Rhapsody in the end is indeed a great fun movie that does its best to showcase the life of Freddie Mercury and his incredible music. The highlights are definitely seeing the reenactments of the performances and learning the history behind the music. While the drama is good and meaningful, there is still more to be explored that a 2 hour movie could not have explored fully. Nonetheless, the film does right to his legacy and shows audiences just how powerful and emotionally stirring Queen was and still is for the world.