Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) - "...it's something that people will feel belongs to them"
John Reid: So, tell me. What makes Queen any different from all of the other wannabe rockstars I meet?
Freddie Mercury: Tell you what it is, Mr. Reid. Now we’re four misfits who don’t belong together, we’re playing for the other misfits. They’re the outcasts, right at the back of the room. We’re pretty sure they don’t belong either. We belong to them.
The greatest gift a movie can offer to the audience is emotion. From the first second up to the last frame of the end credits. It’s a kind of magic. You step from the ordinary world, from tasks and deadlines and become part of something else. You live, breathe, cry and rejoice with the characters. You wish the story would never end.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” isn’t a movie for the film critics and awards. It’s sole purpose is to convey an accessible tale to the masses. It uses in abundance the artistic licences, scraps the official bio, ignores true facts and delivers emotions. In abundance.
Queen remains to the this day the band for the misfits. Songs created for every feeling. Joy, sorrow, falling in love, looking for love, falling out of love, loss and death. Queen gave it all.
I was introduced to Queen at the ripe age of six years old. To this very day, I can remember my father coming home from work, the day Freddie died and listening to the songs. To this very day, the album “Innuendo” is a hard album to hear because you “feel” and “understand” the songs on a deeper meaning. You feel it’s about saying goodbye and it hurts. Because we lived our lives through Queen. We cheered our victories through “We will rock you” and “We are the champions”. We felt the fall of communism - some of us - through “I want to break free” and “Hammer to fall”. Some of us learned English translating these lyrics to our parents.
Queen songs are eternal because they belong to the fans. They’re crowd-pleasers but have deeper meaning. They tale the story of men and women, their rise and fall and rise again.
Freddie’s life deserves probably a mini-series on HBO or Netflix. A network powerful enough to attack the good, the bad, the tragic and the success.
Bohemian Rhapsody was made to convey the story to the older fans, the new crowd and those who got caught in the middle in the cinema. For all its flaws and yes, this movie has flaws as much as it has become a nostalgic tribute, the value remains in the last 30 minutes when we get the Live Aid concert. We feel like we are there, we look at Rami Malek, this amazing actor who captured each and every move Freddie had and gave it all on screen, and we feel for a few minutes like we were there back then. The same simple wish our parents might had had.
The movie offers the same experience like a Queen concert nowadays with Adam Lambert, it gives nostalgia and a roller-coaster of emotions. It transforms Freddie in the movie star we love to cheer for. We root for him to pull it through. During one of the most harrowing moments in the movie, when Freddie decides to get tested for AIDS, there’s a small collective gaps in the audience. We all hope he was well and he would live and we could still have him, today, giving the show stopping concerts. Winking, smiling and entertaining the audience. Making all of us feel like we belong.
Words can not express sensations. Words can not express the vastness of pain, of sorrow, of joy and hope.
The script chose to forsake some parts, alter many and give the approved by all parties versions. Maybe, we’re still not ready to see our heroes fall but then again, we’re never ready. Through better and worse, Freddie Mercury lives as the entertainer with a magnificent voice, who, together with three other misfits gave us moments and memories.
Besides Rami Malek’s spot on acting and transformation into Freddie, one can also command Ben Hardy, first of all, for giving us the charismatic Roger Taylor we know and love, Gwilym Lee for being Brian May, with the look in his eyes, the gestures and the way he played his beloved guitar and Joseph Mazzello for bringing us back John Deacon whom we miss.
Maybe, the script should have followed more Freddie’s origins but like I said earlier on, we would need a proper mini-series for the whole tale of Queen, visceral and stripped of the reverence. The reverence for the final product which is this movie, came from the producers, the remaining active members of Queen who wished for a movie celebrating Queen and Freddie Mercury. The proper biopic would have delved into the darker parts of everyone’s lives, remains to be put together. Each band has to face its demons. We know about them. Their dark and bitter and state the obvious. We are all men and we are subject to failure, to disgrace. We are all inclined to rise from our ashes. In our darkest moments, we are capable to find redemption. For artists, redemption comes on stage, giving it all to the crowd. Living and breathing through each word of the songs, through each flick of the guitar strings and with each beat of the drum.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” gave us the gift of travelling back in time for two hours and see a man and a band which will live on and on in the hearts of the fans.
We are properly taught to respect an etiquette when we watch a movie. To be quiet, to be still, to shut down the smartphones. We sang watching this movie, we clapped our hands and followed with our feet the rhythm of the songs. We cried and some of us, including yours truly, wanted to remain in the cinema and watch this movie on more time.
We never could let go completely of Freddie, not even after the Wembley concert tribute, not even last week. We can’t let go of Freddie because he gave us pieces of his soul through each song and each performance and while we watch this movie and see and listen to Queen’s songs again and again, he lives on. In our memory.
Queen’s songs became anthems, after Freddie’s death, these songs became more than simple songs, they became the life, the struggle, the success, the resignation, the death we all have to face sooner or later. Then again…who waits forever anyway.
In conclusion, “Bohemiam Rhapsody” isn’t not perfect but it’s imperfections are accepted in exchange of the emotions felt while watching and if you ask me, that’s worth the price of a ticket and more.