I grew up with Queen’s music while going to school and loved their dramatic, lyrical, diverse sounds, but I knew very little about the band itself during that time.
Whatever you might think of the rock band Queen, or director Bryan Singer, or whether this musical tribute to the band is accurately portrayed, it matters little as there is no denying the sheer emotional power of this rapturous film that tells the story of one of the legendary performers of our time.
Bohemian Rhapsody follows frontman Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) as he gains fame and battles with his identity as a bisexual of immigrant parents, and his relationship with fans and the other band members.
The music of Queen is so brilliantly used here to connect the turbulent story of lead singer Freddie Mercury and his rise to fame; a performer who believed so strongly in himself and his ability to capture an audience with his amazing vocal range that his bursting onstage energy could barely be contained.
The historic epic performance of the band’s Live Aid appearance that bookends the film is one of the most euphoric and powerful cinematic experiences of any film I’ve seen.
We meet Freddie at the beginning of the film working as a baggage handler at an airport in England and scribbling poetry and lyrics in his spare time. When he goes out at night to see a small band play at a nightclub gig, he approaches the band members after the show to offer his admiration and boast of his own musical talent. This is the early group of musicians who would eventually become the musical phenomenon of the 70s known as Queen.
Bohemian Rhapsody shows us the creative process of a disparate group of misfits with an unwavering belief and acceptance of each other while working as a family unit. And the power of Queen’s music comes from Freddie’s ability to use his incredible vocals in a way that spoke to those who are outsiders and feel unwanted or unloved.
A special mention is due to the incredible performance by Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury who fully deserves the accolades and awards he has been receiving which include the Best Actor at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. He embodies the spirit of Mercury’s larger than life persona both onstage and off.
Like Queen’s music, the critics were not always kind to the film, slamming it for its inaccuracies, but for many fans that are not familiar with the band’s private or public history, Bohemian Rhapsody absolutely works as an emotionally satisfying film with so many iconic songs that it easily warrants multiple viewing. Most filmgoers have come away from the experience with elation.
Bohemian Rhapsody was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Rami Malek who has already won the Golden Globe and the SAG Awards, making him the front runner to win the Oscar. The film also won the Golden Globe for Best Picture – Drama.