Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

bohemian rhapsody poster 2018 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good looking, good cast

Story tries to hard to please the audience

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Bohemian Rhapsody

Studio:  GK Films

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  October 23, 2018 (Premiere)/November 2, 2018 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

bohemian rhapsody freddie mercury rami malek

We are family…but not the song. That was Sister Sledge.

Farrokh Bulsara (Rami Malek) doesn’t feel like he fits in with his Parsi Indian-British family in London.  When an opportunity opens up in a band called Smile with Brian May (Gwilym Lee), Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), and new bassist John Deacon (Joe Mazzello), Farrokh Bulsara dies…and Freddie Mercury is born!  Renamed Queen, the band finds success, but Freddie’s lifestyle begins to catch up with him…can Queen survive?

Bohemian Rhapsody is a biopic drama of the formation of Queen and Freddie Mercury.  The film was caught in development problems for years, and Bryan Singer was tapped to direct.  Singer left during production and was replaced by Dexter Fletcher who did not receive directing credit.  The film was released to mixed reviews but a strong box office and became an award winner for the season.  The film won Academy Awards for Best Actor (Malek), Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing with nominations for Best Picture.

Biopics aren’t my favorite.  The movies often gloss over aspects of a person’s life and turn them into rousing stories of overcoming difficulties.  Freddie Mercury lived a complicated and controversial life…and a PG-13 movie seems dangerous to fall into the biopic trap.  The movie does just that; it isn’t bad, but it also isn’t anything special.

bohemian rhapsody recording session

What does this have to do with the song we’re singing, Freddie?

The problem is that Freddie Mercury’s life doesn’t seem like a PG-13 life (he himself allegedly said it would be XXX).  It feels like the story is made palpable for the masses and is sculpted to please.  A great example is the morning of Live Aid which has Mercury tracking down Jim Hutton, becomes his boyfriend, reconciles with his father, and then makes his big performance.  It just isn’t realistic.  The movie washes over issues and plays up other issues like the “break-up” of Queen which didn’t really happen for drama…where real drama could have been built through the true story.  It feels like a bit of a disservice to Mercury who had some real opinions about his life and lifestyle.

What can’t be criticized is the acting.  Malik does a great job embodying Mercury.  He gets the physical appearance (he could have also played a good young Mick Jagger), but he also gets the physical motions and received coaching on that end.  I liked Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, and Joe Mazzello as the rest of the members of Queen and Lucy Boynton does a good job as Mercury’s real love Mary Austin.  Mike Myers gets a few Wayne’s World laughs as the agent who shoots down “Bohemian Rhapsody” for not being a song that friends sing in their car.  Allen Leech is a good slimy guy as Paul Prenter.  Adam Lambert (who currently sings for Queen) has a small cameo as the truck driver who comes on to Mercury, and Roger Taylor and Brian May also have small cameos.

bohemian rhapsody freddie mercury live aid rami malek

Stand up and cheer…because I’ll manipulate you to!

The movie also looks good.  The film has style and captures the glam of Queen.  I wish the film had been R-Rated and pushed the boundaries a bit further, but the film for what it presented did a good job capturing energy and the fun of the band.

Bohemian Rhapsody unfortunately doesn’t push the limits.  It feels a bit like bland pasty food that is edible to anyone who eats it, but isn’t very memorable or extremely enjoyable.  There isn’t really anything wrong with Bohemian Rhapsody, but nothing makes it special.  It is a solidly acted, visually compelling movie with little heart…but audiences eat that up.  I’m not sure Freddie Mercury would be pleased.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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