Film Review of Bohemian Rhapsody
This is the story of the unknown, ‘disappointment to his family’ Farrokh Bulsara’s evolution into a music legend. For anyone wanting to transform their life into something more meaningful and real, Freddie’s emergence is an inspiration. As this movie easily portrays, he and the band Queen had to fight to retain their uniqueness. As anyone on a quest for deep, personal fulfilment will tell you, you have to be prepared to stand your ground. Mercury certainly did that and, as a result, is unlikely to be ever forgotten. His life of fame and fortune may not be the path for many of us, but his ability to tap into an inner source of inspiration is perhaps something the rest of us can aspire to.
Whether all you know of Queen and Freddie Mercury is their classic, 5 minute 55 seconds long Bohemian Rhapsody or whether you’re a diehard fan and know every single lyric, this film will remind and connect you with a musical genius. What comes over in the film is not only that, but the calm, supportive, wisdom of Brian May who knew when to give Freddie full reign. Anyone struggling to be themselves needs real friends and ‘family’ as the band became to Freddie. May’s role as the film Executive Music Producer undoubtedly also helped to ensure the accuracy and power of the soundtrack.
Rami Malek’s portrayal of Mercury is utterly believable: with the intensity and vulnerability of this complex character clear from the outset. The difficult relationships he had with his parents and with Mary Austin are sensitively represented, as are the issue of his sexuality. For anyone working on similar struggles with those close to them, the film offers many opportunities for deep resonance . . . and, if you’re able to allow yourself, a few (or more) tears. As with any film with any depth, which this undoubtedly has, the more you’re able to engage with it and allow yourself to relate to it, the more you’ll get from it.
As a footnote I have to say I was somewhat surprised by many of the others in the same showing of this film as I was. Almost certainly many were original Queen fans who one could imagine singing along with gusto at a Queen concert. I felt sorry for them in a hushed cinema auditorium, unable to capture that same, vocal, connections they would have done in the 1970s. Freddie would probably have encouraged every cinema-goer to sing along too . . .