What We Can Learn From Bohemian Rhapsody

Recently, I went to see the highly-anticipated Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody – and it did not disappoint. Before seeing the film, I wasn’t too familiar with Queen. While I knew their popular hits from my dad’s 70s playlist, I was in no way versed in their story as a band. However, the film changed all that for me. It’s safe to say that I’m now obsessed.

The film traces Queen from their early years to commercial success and their legendary performance at Live Aid in 1985. The film also has a large focus on Queen’s lead singer, Freddie Mercury (played brilliantly by Rami Malek), and his tumultuous journey to becoming a musical icon.

Throughout the film, Freddie encounters struggle after struggle. In the beginning, he grapples with his Indian heritage, even changing his name (much to the dismay of his father). Later on, he contemplates his sexuality, coming to the realization that he is gay. At the end, he is diagnosed with AIDS (sadly, Mercury died of an AIDS-related illness in 1991).

While Freddie deals with personal hurdles, he must also confront professional struggles. He and bandmates Brian May (Gwylim Lee), Rodger Taylor (Ben Hardy) and John Deacon (Joseph Mazello) come into conflict when Freddie (influenced by drugs, alcohol and toxic people) decides to leave Queen in pursuit of a solo career. Don’t worry, though – he comes back just in time for the band to play Live Aid.

The acting in the film was outstanding. While I’m no professional critic, I know enough to have been in awe of each and every performance.  I was particularly impressed by Rami Malek. While I'd recognized him from other films, I had never seen him in a role of this caliber – and he was outstanding. His strength, grit and willingness to reveal Freddie to audiences in a way that had never been done before was remarkable (and deserving of an Academy Award). Moreover, the thoughtful and truthful way Malek conveyed Freddie’s range of emotion throughout the film was unlike anything I’d ever seen before.

As you would expect, the music in the film was also fantastic. With classic hits like Bohemian Rhapsody, Somebody to Love, We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions, the film did not miss a beat. Freddie’s stage presence had me feeling like I was really there – I was dancing in my seat during every song.

While the film covers the ups and downs of Freddie’s life, it serves a greater purpose of revealing what truly made him an icon: his fearlessness. Freddie was not afraid to be exactly who he was both onstage and off. From his mysterious charm to his unapologetic flamboyance, there was something truly magical about everything he did.

Freddie’s relentless passion, enthusiasm and larger-than-life attitude serves as a reminder to us all to always remain true to ourselves no matter what.   

Thank you, Freddie.