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Movie Review: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Theatrical Release: 11/2/2018

Theatrical Release: 11/2/2018

Synopsis

Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) has been given the gifts of a great voice, a great vocal range, and a natural talent for writing music. Unfortunately, these are not gifts that his father appreciates. His father knows Freddie will never amount to anything if he indulges his musical dream, but Freddie is not one to follow his father’s rules. Instead, he is determined to fulfill his dream, with or without his father’s approval.

Freddie needs a band, and at a nearby college, he finds a band that needs a lead singer. They are immediately impressed with one another, and thus, Queen is born. However, despite their immense talent and unique style, their road to fame and glory will not be an easy one. Their new lifestyle is hard on the group, and Freddie discovers something about himself that will forever change the way the band is viewed. All they can do is make and perform music like only they can. Who knows? They just might become one of the most legendary bands of all time along the way.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Rami Malek (+8pts)

Paul & Mary (-5pts)

Freddie Mercury (+10pts)

John, Jim, and Ray (-3pts)

The Music (+8pts)

Feels Long (-3pts)

movie-review-bohemian-rhapsody

Pro: Rami Malek (+8pts)

Rami Malek absolutely transformed into Freddie Mercury in this movie. It was one thing to have to play Freddie and give a great dramatic performance, but it was an entirely other thing to become the legend. Now, to my knowledge, Rami Malek was not singing in this movie. As good as the man might be able to sing, Freddie Mercury had one of the most iconic voices in recent history. If I was making the movie, and using audio recordings of Freddie Mercury was an option, I would definitely have done so.

Singing aside, Rami Malek was simply excellent in this movie. In the beginning, there was a section where it felt like he was doing a cheap impression of the legend, but that quickly changed. After a few scenes, I stopped seeing the actor and I only saw the icon. He was able to capture the facial expressions, the mannerisms, and the overall vibe of the legendary singer. Transforming into a role is no small feat, and transforming into such a recognizable figure as Freddie Mercury is even more impressive, and Rami Malek did just that.

movie-review-bohemian-rhapsody

Con: Paul & Mary (-5pts)

I had absolutely no issues with Mary, or Lucy Boynton’s portrayal of her. I did, however, have a problem with the character of Paul and how he was viewed in comparison to how Mary was viewed. If you know who Freddie Mercury was, then you most likely know about his sexuality. I expected that his sexuality would play a significant part in this story, but the whole thing kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

Mary was portrayed as the love of Freddie’s life, while Paul was definitely the antagonist of that romantic story. We never really saw what Freddie saw in Paul, he was just a one-dimensional antagonist character. The unfortunate side effect of this was that we had no choice, but to root against Freddie‘s homosexuality because we never really saw any redeeming qualities about Paul, the guy he was interested in. The only other love interest was Mary, so by depicting Paul as a one-dimensional antagonist, the filmmakers inadvertently forced us into rooting against Freddie‘s homosexuality all together. This just felt like the wrong way to portray this man’s sexuality.

movie-review-bohemian-rhapsody

Pro: Freddie Mercury (+10pts)

Bohemian Rhapsody was about Queen, to an extent, but this was really Freddie Mercury’s story. Gifted with an incredible musical talent, and the ability to command a crowd like no other, the man rose to become one of the greatest musical icons in history. Thus, when rumors spread about his sexuality, his name was spoken and thrown on every newspaper the world over. Freddie Mercury had to have a perspective on fame unlike any other, which was what made this story so interesting to me.

At a time when homosexuality was at its most scandalous, this man was at the top of the musical industry. Everyone knew his name, but he was still extremely isolated. He was a legend with a fascinating story, which was very compelling to see told. He had a one-of-a-kind life, which made him a perfect candidate for a biopic, and it made this an interesting movie from start to finish.

movie-review-bohemian-rhapsody

Con: John, Jim, and Ray (-3pts)

Each of these characters served somewhat of a purpose in this story, but none of them served significant purposes. Ray (Mike Myers) was a music producer, John (Aidan Gillen) was the band's manager, and I honestly do not remember what role Jim (Tom Hollander) had in the first part of the movie. None of these characters ended up being significant, and two of them could have—and in my opinion should have—been cut from this movie. Whether or not they were real people in the story of Queen, they were not necessary in this movie.

If the filmmakers were smart, they would have merged these three characters into one, and delivered one character that felt relevant to the story, as opposed to three characters who did not. Cutting two of those characters would have also given more screentime to developing the other members of the band. This was one of the weaknesses of the movie, in my opinion, as I walked out of the movie having learned very little about Freddie Mercury's band mates. This made the screentime that John, Jim, and Ray got feel like even more of a waste.

movie-review-bohemian-rhapsody

Pro: The Music (+8pts)

I will keep this brief, but the filmmakers had the benefit of using an absolutely iconic list of songs for their movie. As good as the story was, and as good as the performances were, the movie was made so much better by being set to these amazing songs. Some of the songs used were: "We Will Rock You", "We Are the Champions", "Another One Bites the Dust", and obviously "Bohemian Rhapsody"—just to name a few. These are great, catchy songs that will absolutely hook audiences into the movie. It would have been a good movie without the music, but with the music, this movie became something special.

movie-review-bohemian-rhapsody

Con: Feels Long (-3pts)

As is the case with too many biopics, this movie ended up feeling pretty long. Was it still entertaining? Yes, but it felt much longer than it was. There was a point in this movie where it felt like it had already been two hours, but when I checked the time, I saw that it had only been about fifty minutes. This happens with a lot of biopics, because their filmmakers try to tell a story about the entire lives of iconic people or groups. The fact that this movie spanned over a good portion of Freddie's life meant this movie feel a lot longer than it was, because it felt like we were watching years go by. I was still entertained, but I did find myself checking the time during some of the movie's lulls.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

movie-review-bohemian-rhapsody

Grade: A- (90pts)

Bohemian Rhapsody was a strong movie. It had a few problems, such as a cluttered cast and how long it felt, but they were relatively minor issues that the movie was mostly able to overcome. The movie had too many side characters, which I think took away from time that should have been spent learning more about Freddie’s band mates. I also got the impression that Freddie's homosexuality was somewhat vilified, by making Paul a very one-dimensional antagonist.

Rami Malek delivered a fantastic performance that made me feel like I was actually watching Freddie Mercury. Freddie Mercury’s story was also an inherently interesting one, and while I am sure the movie was far from one hundred percent historically accurate, I think the filmmakers delivered a compelling story about this legend. On top of all of that, the movie had the benefit of having a soundtrack that was comprised of Queen’s greatest hits, which will keep audiences excitedly engaged. It was not a perfect movie, but I really enjoyed it.

Comments

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on January 05, 2019:

I've yet to see this film. It looks really interesting. I love Queen.

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