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Why Everyone Should See Bohemian Rhapsody

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Why Everyone Should See Bohemian Rhapsody

Boheman Rhapsody movie poster at movie theater

Boheman Rhapsody movie poster at movie theater

Madi La Crosse

Boheman Rhapsody movie poster at movie theater

Madi La Crosse

Madi La Crosse

Boheman Rhapsody movie poster at movie theater

Syd Smith and Madi La Crosse

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If you want a factual biography of the iconic musician Freddie Mercury, this is not the movie for you. But if you want wonderful acting and a great soundtrack, Bohemian Rhapsody is an excellent choice. Released on November 2, this dramatized documentary chronicles the life of Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara) and his Queen bandmates Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon.

 

This movie is more of an exaggerated version of the events leading up to Queen’s iconic Live-Aid concert rather than a Queen documentary. We see Mercury and his bandmates sign and fight with various labels, undergo the stress of being rich and famous, go on numerous tours across the world, and ultimately see their rise and fall. It places a heavy focus on Mercury’s love life, and the story mostly follows his relationships with Mary Austin, Paul Prenter, and Jim Hutton. He was engaged to Austin for a period of time, but they eventually called it off due to them growing apart. Austin was also initially uncomfortable with Mercury’s sexual fluidity, and when he came out to her as bisexual, she wrongfully claimed that Mercury was “just gay.” After that, he became involved with Prenter, the band’s then-manager. Industry stress and a solo offer led Mercury to leave Queen. Prenter became the villain of the story, and the movie implied that it was him who was involved (knowingly or not) in infecting Mercury with the AIDS virus. Mercury goes on a downward spiral and eventually cuts ties with Prenter, and gets back with his bandmates. He is then officially diagnosed with AIDS but chooses to keep it a secret and remain with his then-partner Jim Hutton. This all culminates in the iconic Live-Aid concert, a fundraising event to raise money for the famine in Ethiopia. Queen was a headliner in this world-wide televised event, and it’s considered one of their best performances. The movie ends here, showing Mercury and his bandmates in their element. The credit scene is preceded by a short memorial section describing the end of Mercury’s life and the band’s impact since then.

Syd Smith

 

This movie was incredibly enjoyable, and when it finished, I was interested in its broader implications. Mercury was well known for being bisexual, but the way his sexuality was portrayed may have been more harmful than helpful. The first scene that hints at his sexuality was when Mercury was on the phone with Austin at a truck stop, and as she speaks to him, his eyes follow a man as he walks into the building; that scene seemed like an odd choice. I understand the difficulty of portraying something as complex as a person’s sexuality, but this seems to trivialize his attraction and turn it into more of an affair-type event. Next, Mercury’s coming out was very realistic. Bisexual people (those who are attracted to more than one gender, usually male and female) are often faced with the criticism that their sexuality isn’t real, or that they’re just gay or just straight. Austin’s reaction was spot on, with her exclaiming “You’re just gay!” as Mercury explained himself. We then see his sexuality develop as he begins and ends relationships with men, notably Prenter and Hutton. I appreciate the effort put in here, but at the end of the movie, I felt underwhelmed. Mercury’s relationships with men were presented as “devious” and “rebellious,” with scenes of sketchy underground clubs and wild parties serving as the backdrop for their relationships. The overarching feeling was that relationships with men were dangerous and abnormal, whereas relationships with women were wholesome and healthy. Mercury’s relationship with Austin was shown to be much more of an emotional attachment with deep respect, while his relations with Prenter and Hutton were less serious. Now I’m not saying you can’t enjoy the movie. As a whole, his sexuality was done well enough that the general public could understand that he at least was not heterosexual. But for those who care more about the LGBT+ community, this portrayal may have left them feeling unfulfilled. Overall, I can appreciate what the filmmakers were trying to do with Mercury’s sexuality, but those efforts fell a little bit short for those paying attention.

 

One thing I distinctly remember while watching this movie, about halfway through was, oh boy this is just another typical fame story. The main character comes from a unique background and wants to be a star. Queen eventually takes off, everything’s great, they’re happy, and all their relationships are positive. Soon this all comes to a screeching halt when they crack under pressure and make a mistake. Everyone turns against them, and they burn out for a bit, but everything eventually turns out fine. I realized that this was how the story was really progressing in the middle of the film when we see Mercury with Prenter and watch them ultimately terminate their relationship. Despite the fact, Mercury walking away from Prenter in the pouring rain after telling Prenter just how he felt was a very heartbreaking moment, the whole middle part of the movie made me feel antsy and made me feel like it dragged on for too long. Although this was kind of a large aspect that I disliked about the film, it really did redeem itself in the end with the outstanding recreation of Queen’s Live Aid performance. You couldn’t help but smile the whole time. The energy the filmmakers, as well as actors portrayed with the fans reactions and the genuine nature of the whole thing, just made it into a great experience; it really tied the whole movie together. All in all, I would give this movie an 8.5 out of 10 because it was a movie that I would really like to see again and most things about it were just so excellent, including the music, which I have been listening to on repeat since watching the film. If you are a fan of any Queen music, this is a must-see.

 

Overall, Bohemian Rhapsody is an excellent movie for casual watchers and hardcore fans alike. With its fantastic soundtrack, great visuals, and talented actors, this movie did not disappoint. Though the portrayal of Mercury’s sexuality may have been slightly questionable, the filmmakers did an excellent job of at least getting their foot in the door for bisexual visibility. This typical fame story was brought to a new level with Queen’s signature flamboyance, and this movie is a must-watch for anyone that has any level of interest in this noteworthy band.

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Why Everyone Should See Bohemian Rhapsody