Everyone in our generation has heard of Queen. We grew up with their hits seamlessly integrated into our everyday lives. No 90s kid hasn’t heard “We are the Champions”, “Another One Bites the Dust”, or their iconic rock-opera hybrid “Bohemian Rhapsody”?
A new movie has debuted of the same name, and it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in recent memory. Here are a few reasons why!
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Freddie Mercury in all his glory!
Freddie Mercury is one of the most iconic rockers in recent history. Not only because of his amazingly flamboyant stage presence or his unparalleled ability to interact with the crowd but his musical genius. He did things with music that no one else ever had. This movie portrayed his quirks, perks, and even downsides very eloquently. They really fleshed out his character instead of creating a one-dimensional being like so many other movies do.
Openly talking about sexuality.
One thing that comes to many people’s minds when they think of Freddie is the word “gay”. But sexuality is a spectrum, not a label, and this movie does a great job of displaying that. Many people in this generation may not even realize that Freddie had girlfriends at a point, but true fans know all about Mary. I think one of my favorite scenes was when Freddie had purchased his new house and had Roger come to see it. Freddie gestures to a picture on the wall and asks, “What do you think darling?” Roger looks at his new (iconic) haircut and mustache look and jokingly says, “Gayer!” I think it’s great that they show that his friends really accept him for who he is and that sexuality has no influence on their feelings towards Freddie.
Normalizing same-sex relationships.
One of the things I loved about this movie was that when it came to Freddie being with men, it wasn’t “hush-hush” like so many movies before. They are quick to show lesbian relationships (albeit in a very sexualized way) because it appeals to the desires of many cis white males. For gay relationships, kisses happen off screen and the relationship is not in the forefront. This movie unapologetically displays Freddie’s relationships in a real and rounded way. Even when he is in relationships that we don’t all agree with (We’re on your side Roger! Paul sucks!) they are portrayed very similarly to his relationship with Mary, if not in more detail. This is a game-changer for most movies, and I was here for it.
An honest account of the AIDS epidemic.
As the movie goes on, you see Freddie becoming sicker but it’s not super obvious. In the 80s, AIDS was becoming a huge problem in the gay community. AIDS has no cure to this day, and in that time, it was basically a death sentence. You get a different view of the issue from inside of Freddie’s own mind, and it’s heartbreaking. However, it raises awareness, especially with the tribute at the end of the movie. It really is an eye-opener.
Behind the scenes at Live Aid.
The Live Aid concert was a huge moment in Queen’s career and this movie played the entire 20-minute performance! Also, we get to see Freddie’s devotion to his home country even though he doesn’t always show it, as Zanzibar is right off the coast of Africa and the cause hits home for him. I found myself wondering before and during the movie how they would end it, because Live Aid is kind of the culmination of Queen’s success, and I was happy with how they did it. Ending on Live Aid was a perfect decision since you get to see Freddie in his element instead of watching him get sicker. He’s performing, he’s with his family, he’s got an amazing partner, and he is genuinely happy. The tribute at the end is a very graceful way to wrap up the story.
Overall, this movie nearly had me in tears. It’s that good. The music helped of course, but it tells the story of Freddie Mercury beautifully. I highly recommend it to everyone. Even the older couple behind me in the theater who were asking, “Why are there so many gay couples in these commercials?” left with smiles on their faces. So get off of your couch and go check it out!