Bohemian Rhapsody

There are tons of bio-pics that I love. However, I know that they can also be incredibly inaccurate and whitewash what really happened. I was very concerned that Freddy Mercury’s sexuality and death from A.I.D.S would be whitewashed when I found out they were making a film about his life. When the film came out I remained very torn on whether or not to see it for those exact reasons despite the fact that the film received very positive reviews and was a huge hit. I dragged my feet until two days ago when I finally decided to see it mainly because Rami Malek seem assured a Best Actor nomination and the film is a likely Best Picture contender. At the end of the day I am glad I saw “Bohemian Rhapsody” but it didn’t completely love it.

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The film was better than I thought it would be. Considering it is rated PG-13 I don’t think it whitewashed Mercury’s sexuality, but I think an R-rated film would have allowed the film to push the envelope more in terms of his sex life, drug use and death. Speaking of his death, the film makes it very clear that Mercury died of A.I.D.S. but chooses to end the film in triumph at Live Aid in 1985. On one hand I get this. You want to end the film on a positive note with Mercury and Queen at the top of their game, but I do feel this does white wash the last years of his life. I also have an issue that the film portrays Mercury as being sick in 1985 when he didn’t test H.I.V. positive until 1987. Not to mention that as good as the Live Aid performance was I think it’s a little bit of a lazy way to end the film.

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However, I did learn a lot of about Mercury that I didn’t know before especially his ethnic background. When I compare “Bohemian Rhapsody” to “Mary Queen of Scots” I think I am more forgiving to the latter because we don’t have as clear of an idea of what happened in Mary and Elizabeth’s lives as we do in Mercury’s but regardless I have to remind myself these films are based on the lives of historic icons and not documentaries. There were a couple of things that I did love about the movie. There is a great line when Freddy says he struggles with the in-between moments when the darkness you think you have banished sneaks back in. I could relate to this line so much. Also, I despite my issues with it I do love that this film exists. When Mercury died when I was 13 I remember awful homophobic boys at my Middle School singing “Another Fag Bites the Dust”. I hope that somewhere in a small down in little gay boy saw this film an felt just a little bit better about himself.

I know so many people are totally gaga over Rami Malek’s performance and he does give it a solid effort but for me it never one hundred percent worked. I think he connected with the character more in the second half of the film but in the first half he just seemed like a silly boy wearing a wig and outrageous costumes.

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I just never fully bought into him as Freddy Mercury the way I did with Angela Basset as Tina Turner in 1993’s “What’s Love Got to do wit It”. I still have more films to see but Bradley Cooper in “A Star is Born” and Lucas Hedges in “Boy Erased” were both way better than Malek. The rest of the cast is good overall. I did find Mike Myers and the meta reference to “Wayne’s World” were extremely distracting. Aidan Gillen is good, but we have seen him in this type of role before. The best supporting performance came from Allen Leech in a much darker role that I have seen him in before.

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“Bohemian Rhapsody” is good but not great. Malek’s performance is good but not great. Considering how much crap Hollywood churns out these days I’ll take a good but not great film any day over more superhero crap. I do recommend this film for anybody who hasn’t seen it and is interested.

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Here is a description:

Justin Gomez and his sister, Terri, have never been close. Separated by nine years and distant in adulthood, Justin and Terri have little in common, except for the love of her three children. In the days before they embark on a road trip to visit the father that once abandoned them and their now deceased mother, both Terri and Justin are dealing with unexpected changes in their lives. Justin surprisingly realizes he might want more than a series of one night stands after a first date goes unexpectedly well. After a lifetime of being a strong type A personality, Terri is forced to confront the reality of the end of her marriage. As they hit the road, with Terri’s children in tow, they find themselves forced to rely on and confide in each other following a devastating event. Confronted with memories from the past and challenges from the present, Terri and Justin must dig deep and unearth the truth about themselves and their parents in order to build a new family based on their love for each other.

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