This weekend I planned on taking it easy since next weekend we will be performing a stock take at the pharmacy and my friends and I decided to spend it watching Bohemian Rhapsody.
I had heard from loads of people that movie is amazing so I was really looking forward to it. Bohemian Rhapsody chronicles the formation and the years of the music group, Queen, and their famous performance at the Live Aid (1985) concert. Bohemian Rhapsody is directed by Bryan Singer and stars Rami Malek who plays “Freddie Mercury”.
I have always been passionate about music – In fact I studied music when I was younger. I used to play the Piano Accordion …. I say’ used to’ as I haven’t touched my instrument in over the 6 years unfortunately. Having said that my love for music has always been a huge part of my life. In fact I’ve always lived in a world where Queen was hugely popular and their hits have always been played on the radio, at school and at home; at times when I was younger and more naïve about music I thought maybe even overplayed. But there is no denying the brilliance, power, and grandeur of their songs and why they’ve had such incredible appeal over decades.
Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury is a major factor that carries this movie from beginning to end. In my opinion he was truly able to embody the iconic and unique Freddie Mercury through his performance. He is slightly physically smaller than Freddie Mercury was in real life, which can be noticed in some of the scenes but this does not affect how incredible his recreation of him was. If you are familiar with the famous musician, then you’ll probably be satisfied with how accurately Malek was able to replicate the singer’s look, demeanour, and his unique mannerisms and his teeth and facial expressions.
Besides these superficial things, Malek captured a lot of the struggles that Freddie Mercury dealt with. What made his performance so powerful in my opinion was how he was able to convey his internal strife without even saying a single word. You could see and feel his pain or joy and you could tell the entire audience was enveloped in the performance. In those specific moments, I think that’s probably when you may empathize the most with the character – I felt sad and sorry for him – he was such an amazing genius and yet he was destined to spend the best years of his life feeling lonely and trying to hide who he really was. There were moments when I had tears in my eyes and others when I was dancing in my seat which means I was totally lost in the world Malek created for us.
When we were walking out of the cinema I heard a woman commenting that if you did not know the songs you wouldn’t understand the movie. However I cannot even imagine a single human being who hasn’t heard Queens songs; and even if that person did somehow exist hidden on some mountain in a lost land the movie had a good story embellished by the amazing music.
Though some of the facts feel glossed over, the film does a fairly good job of exploring the creative process behind some of their biggest songs, especially the time-less classic “Bohemian Rhapsody”. That elaborate creative process is nicely contrasted with the simple but catchy songs like “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” that become anthems.
One issue I had with the film is that it didn’t really allow the dramatic moments to leave a huge impact, there’s an obvious reveal building up with Mercury’s character for a the better part of the movie. When that moment finally comes and he tells his fiancee that he is gay it gets cut short prematurely. I felt, we’re robbed of the emotional impact of such a momentous personal revelation for Mercury’s character just because the editing of the film decided to cut away too soon. It was a pivotal part of the movie and it was a tough moment for both as he did not want to hurt this amazing woman and she already knew for a while. I wish the directors would have allowed us to experience that part of it a bit more strongly.
In all honesty I was disappointed in that the film shows the band breaking in the early 80s when Freddie is lured to doing a solo record. However in reality this never happened, which also means that the Live aid performance was not a reunion performance as implied in the movie since they never broke up. What also bothered me is that they changed the time that Freddie finds out that he has AIDS to before the Live Aid performance rather than nearly two years later when he really found out, unnecessarily adding heightened stakes to the performance.
Despite all this, this movie leaves us all with a lesson – if you have a deep passion and vision for their future and you work hard and with determination you can make anything happen. The band was a group of young students who did not really fit in but they had a dream and they decided they would make it come through. So for those like me who have a dream – Freddie teaches us not to give up on it.