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Bohemian Rhapsody is a hit– again

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Audrey Delgado

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Bohemian Rhapsody is a hit– again

Alex Bailey / Twentieth Century Fox

Alex Bailey / Twentieth Century Fox

Alex Bailey / Twentieth Century Fox

*Mild spoilers ahead*

Freddie Mercury’s biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, made over $50 million at the box office on its opening weekend. The movie, long-awaited by Queen fans, followed the journey of the band from their formation to their iconic performance at Live Aid in 1985.

The film was originally directed by Bryan Singer, until Fox recruited Dexter Fletcher to take his place. Though the official reason for Singer leaving was his health, the director was reportedly replaced due to his lack of dependability. Sources say he repeatedly disappeared from the set, forcing cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel to fill in.  The movie has received a lot of credit for their casting of Rami Malek, who portrayed Mercury almost perfectly. The makeup-team went above and beyond, using a prosthetic nose, fake mustaches and of course, fake teeth.

The movie handles sensitive topics such as Mercury’s sexuality, AIDS diagnosis and relationship with his family. The filmmakers portray Mercury as a complex character, reflective of his real-life personality.

Throughout the movie, we see his most difficult decisions and his motivations. Mercury is neither a hero nor a villain; he is just a human being.”

Possibly, the filmmakers’ best decision was involving Queen members, Brian May and Roger Taylor, in filming. Their personal insight seemed to not only help increase accuracy but also help the team keep the movie to a reasonable length by leaving out certain details. Many fans were upset by the small changes throughout the movie. However, they may not realize that they were intentional, in order to progress the plot and provide a satisfying conclusion. These inaccuracies include, moving the release date of the song We Will Rock You a few years later for plot development and, most controversially, moving up the date of Mercury’s AIDS diagnosis.

Many critics saw the change as insensitive. They thought the movie was falsely framing it as the reason for Queen’s performance at Live Aid. However, they ignore the fact that in the movie the band does not yet know about Mercury’s diagnosis, and Mercury is shown to have other motivations. Before reuniting the band, he finally comes to understand that the man he had been depending on was scheming to control his life. Mercury wants to be a family with his bandmates again. Filmmakers likely moved the date, so that the movie could end on a high note with Live Aid, but still not ignore Mercury’s condition. This may be the same reasoning behind their decision to end before Mercury’s last years.

Bohemian Rhapsody did receive a lot of appreciation for how it handled the songs featured in the movie. For most of the film they used real audio of Mercury singing, but for the rest, they used recordings of a Freddie Mercury impersonator, Marc Martel. By using recordings, the filmmakers avoided the many issues presented by having an actor attempt to imitate a distinct voice like Mercury’s.

The movie surpassed expectations, as it was projected to earn around $35 million. Critics were not as enthusiastic as the general audience, giving the movie a 60% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Similar to other biopics, the contrast of the critic vs. fan opinions could be due to Queen’s fame. Fans are more likely to enjoy a movie, despite the quality of the film, if it’s about something they are interested in.

All in all, the movie was a success. The film covered real-life events with only small inaccuracies, which can be quite a challenge in a biography. Viewers should remember that this movie is just that a movie. It is meant to capture the essence of Freddie Mercury, and it does that perfectly. Malek, and the rest of the cast, brought Mercury’s journey to life, with all of its ups and downs.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Bohemian Rhapsody is a hit– again”

  1. Joseph Delgado on November 20th, 2018 12:39 pm

    Well done you have captured the story . A well written review.

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