“Bohemian Rhapsody” Movie Review

Samantha Zakrzewski, Writer/Editor

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Breathtaking. Magnificent. Fabulous. These are just a few of the words to describe Bohemian Rhapsody.  From beginning to end, audiences are on the edge of their seats, mesmerized by the performances of the actors. Bohemian Rhapsody shows audiences the journey of the iconic band, Queen, focusing in particular on the band’s lead singer, Freddie Mercury. The movie leads up to the band’s famous Live Aid concert. Personally, I felt that the movie did Queen’s story justice.

Bohemian Rhapsody starts with Freddie Mercury’s (portrayed by Rami Malek) humble beginnings as a baggage claim worker at Heathrow Airport. We watch as he discovers Roger Taylor and Brian May’s (Ben Hardy and Gwilym Lee respectively) band, Smile. When Smile’s lead singer quits, Mercury asks to join, hence the formation of Queen.

Rami Malek does a phenomenal job portraying Freddie Mercury. Malek went beyond the costumes for this performance- he literally became Mercury. Even the tiniest gestures were included in his performances, from the iconic dance moves to his distinct facial expressions. Malek’s demeanor is identical to that of Mercury- every movement resembles Mercury’s. For someone who isn’t a professional performer, Malek does a phenomenal job making it look so effortless and unforced. The amount of dedication Malek put into this role is very clear and I would not be surprised if he earned an Oscar for his portrayal of Mercury.

However, it would be unfair of me to praise Malek’s performance and not the rest of the actors. Ben Hardy, Gwilym Lee, and Joseph Mazzello ( John Deacon) also did an outstanding job. At times, it is hard to differentiate between the actors and the real life people they are portraying. From their costumes to their acting, they do a phenomenal job with their performances. Similar to Malek, they also picked up on even the tiniest gestures. Lee’s posture as he plays the guitar is identical to May’s; Hardy’s headbangs as he plays the drums is a spitting image of Taylor’s. The actors all around were fantastic and deserve praise for their roles.

Bohemian Rhapsody does not disappoint as there isn’t a dull moment. Even if you are acquainted with the history of the band, it’s still fascinating to watch it come to life. We watch as the band rises to fame and continue to achieve greater success. The added humor contributes to the enjoyment of the film.

Viewers are also shown the backstory to some of Queen’s greatest hits. We see that Brian May wrote “We Will Rock You,” and John Deacon wrote “Another One Bites the Dust.” The creation of the song “Bohemian Rhapsody” adds humor to the movie as we watch Roger Taylor trying to hit a high note and the band goofing off in the recording studio. We also see how this iconic song was criticized for being too long and almost wasn’t released. Mercury, May, Taylor, and Deacon spent a tremendous amount of time together, writing their music. The history of these songs is important to the development of Bohemian Rhapsody as it shows the growing relationship between the band members.

As light hearted as the movie may seem, Bohemian Rhapsody does delve into deeper topics. We watch the struggles of Freddie Mercury with drugs and his sexuality. Although engaged to Mary Austin, it’s apparent that Mercury has his doubts. While on tour, he begins to take notice of the men around him. As a result, he begins to distance himself from Austin, even though the two are engaged.

The movie builds up to Queen’s iconic Live Aid performance, which is absolutely breathtaking. Even the minor details are accounted for. From the way Malek struts across the stage to his precise facial expressions, Malek is practically a carbon copy of Mercury. Although it probably took a lot of planning, the concert did not look as if it were rehearsed. Malek’s movements were as effortless as Mercury’s were. If you were to pull up the original and movie performances, you wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference between the two. Some may argue that this performance was to drawn out and more of a karaoke session, but personally, I felt that this iconic performance should have been longer. It was an epic finale that the movie did a great job building up to.

While critics may argue that some of the events did not happen, it’s clear that they were necessary for the development of Bohemian Rhapsody. Certain events needed to be cut short in order to make room for the Live Aid performance. For example, the formation of Queen was far more drawn out than it is shown in the film. However, the movie’s version of it was valid because they needed to make time for the other milestones in Queen’s journey. If we’re being realistic, they probably could have made an entire movie alone on the formation of the band. However, there are more important and interesting events that needed to be shown. Rather than focus in on certain events, the movie brushes past them, which is perfectly understandable as the movie needs to fit everything in a 2 hour limit.

Bohemian Rhapsody was one of the greatest movies that I have ever seen- I would definitely recommend it to everyone. The story of Queen was brought to life in the most magnificent way. Rami Malek’s performance was absolutely breathtaking and, at times, you forget that he is not the real Freddie Mercury. Bohemian Rhapsody wasn’t just a movie- it was an experience.