“Bohemian Rhapsody” Misses Some Notes, But Soars On The Important Ones

Life is not a bed of roses. Or a pleasure cruise, but when you’re Freddie Mercury, you ain’t gonna lose. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a biopic that focuses primarily on Queen’s legendary front man Freddie Mercury, but also the band’s rise to fame all the way to their historic 1985 Live Aid performance.

At the center of the film, is a much buzzed about (and well deserved too) performance from Rami Malek (of “Mr. Robot” fame). Malek’s performance is what drives the film and captures the attention of the audience. He exudes every bit of Mercury’s showmanship in the performances featured and has nailed the confident side of him. What separates Malek’s performance from a simple impersonation, though, is his look into Mercury’s psyche. The moments where Mercury is frightened of both feeling and being alone. The ones where he is confused and frightened of what lies ahead for him. These are the moments that make Malek’s Mercury more than just a rock icon, but a human being.

Of course, what would a Queen biopic be without a little controversy? Many critics have felt that the treatment of Mercury’s sexuality and AIDS diagnosis is treated with kid gloves and not pronounced enough in the film. This situation stems from many factors, like the last-minute director change, or the need for the film to reach a wide audience, but, I don’t think it really matters. These were elements of Freddie Mercury’s life, but they were not his whole life. The film features a press conference for the band’s album “Hot Space” where the band’s artistry is overlooked by the media in favor of Freddie’s personal life. Mercury’s agitated response to the questions puts off that Mercury wanted to focus on Queen’s artistic talents and not what happened behind closed doors. Much like Mercury, “Bohemian Rhapsody” has a bigger story to tell.

Outside of Malek’s star performance, does the movie have much more to offer or expands upon the music biopic genre? Nope. But, does it really need to? The film has a killer soundtrack and makes you want to run home to listen to Queen’s greatest hits. It brings nostalgia to audience members that grew up during the band’s era and introduces the group to a new generation. Not every film needs to leave the audience pondering the meaning of life or in a sobbing mess. Sometimes a movie merely entertains its audience, and that’s alright.

Bohemian Rhapsody is nothing new regarding genre but is excellent for an audience that just wants a good time. And, just like the song goes, you’ll be having a ball.