Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Regarded as one of the greatest frontmen in the history of Rock and Roll, Freddie Mercury was born to entertain. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a biopic celebrating his life should seek to do the same. Granted, the film is full of the genre’s clichés, but it also contains rousing music, faithful recreations of concerts and a captivating lead performance. So who cares if this is his real life or if it's just fantasy?

Opening with the oft-used device of an entertainer’s life being seen in flashback on the eve of a seminal show, Bohemian Rhapsody charts the singer’s transformation from Farrokh Bulsara, a shy baggage-handler at Heathrow Airport, to Freddie Mercury, unrestrained Rock God on and off the stage. Along the way he encounters disapproving parents, sceptical record producers, a nefarious gold-digger and a fatal disease. Yet our hero manages to transcend most of these obstacles in time for a triumphant comeback.

Just as triumphant is the performance of Rami Malek. Bringing a tenderness to the scenes depicting Mercury’s love for Mary Austin, his fellow band members and Jim Hutton, Malek is suitably outrageous elsewhere, none more so than when on stage. At times it appeared actual footage of Mercury’s gyrations had been spliced into the film, so complete is the illusion.

Though the filmmakers can hardly claim they didn’t mean to make us cry with the film’s amended timeline, like Mister Fahrenheit in the film’s closing song, this biopic will leave you having a good time.

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Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor knew each other before the lead singer of Smile quit the band.

Freddie Mercury met Jim Hutton and a night club, not while he was recuperating from a wild party at his home.

EMI executive Ray Foster is a fictional character.

 

Far from having been disbanded for years, Queen had recently completed a world tour prior to their performance at Live Aid.

 

Mercury did not inform his fellow band members he had contracted the AIDS virus until sometime after the Live Aid Concert.

No scenes depicting Queen’s composition of the musical scores for either Flash Gordon or Highlander, though 'Who Wants to Live Forever' does play over a scene depicting Mercury learning he has contracted the AIDS virus.

Clip courtesy of Dimitri Bitu

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