At the helm of musical artistry, sexual volatility, and racial obscurity stands the king of Queen, Freddie Mercury. The biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, chronicles the rise of this legendary rock star and his bandmates in a time when being “different” could mean complete and utter alienation. Never mind the consequences though, for Freddie and his pals break the mold and successfully reach an audience of weirdos, outsiders, and dreamers. This film captures the essence of that idea beautifully, which is the film’s biggest achievement. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the band’s best anthems play periodically throughout the film.
Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), born Farrokh Bulsara, was an Indian baggage handler at Heathrow. He finds salvation in 1970 when he joins a local band called Smile, who later become the iconic band, Queen. They begin their careers playing at shows across Britain. But the band gained fame after they recorded their self-titled debut album, which was released in 1973.
After touring across America, Queen produced one of their biggest hits several years later, the six-minute piece of poetry called Bohemian Rhapsody, which was controversial much like Freddie’s sexuality at that time. As the movie progresses, we see the band experiencing harmony and conflict, dipping and rising like a seesaw. But all that subsides and the film culminates with Queen performing at the Live Aid concert, which is my favorite part of the movie.
To be honest, I did not know much about Queen until I saw this film. Unwittingly I’ve rejoiced about the band when hearing their songs through the years. And as it happens, I share heritage with Freddie for I too am of Indian descent. This was a point of connection because there have been times in my life when I questioned my pride about my nationality.
Freddie too was clearly experiencing this disorientation. I also enjoyed the portrayal of Freddie by Malek, which seemed genuine. This rock film, in particular, was enjoyable because it wasn’t muddled with too much sex and drugs, which is applied heavily in some of the other films’ of the same genre.
The film’s only shortcoming was that it didn’t show a lot of originality in terms of its story aside from the lack of crude behavior, and thus its place among other musical biopics is somewhat compromised. However, overall this movie was quite enjoyable. Check it out.
Genre: Musical Biopic
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