‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ captivates audiences old and new
by Anna Minasyan
photo courtesy of imdb.com
In this biopic almost 10 years in the making, the story of the rock band Queen and their infamous lead singer, Freddie Mercury, is encapsulated in an emotional, honest and exhilarating film entitled “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Though Mercury never liked when people referred to him as the “leader” of Queen as opposed to the “lead singer,” his presence in this film certainly takes hold of the limelight through Emmy-Award winner Rami Malek, who portrayed him. Through all his hairstyles, massive overbite (which gave Mercury his four-octave vocal range) and sequined leotards, Malek embodied every aspect that was Mercury. Confidently dancing to their first hit “Killer Queen” and fearlessly creating the most recognized song of generations, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Malek leaves no room for the audience to believe he was anyone other than the Killer Queen himself.
‘“I’m playing him in a movie, but I don’t know if I can ever quite grasp what exactly was going on in his head. One thing I know is that he wanted to make music till the day he died,”’ said Malek in a radio interview with NPR. ‘“And one thing he told Jim Beach, who is the executor of his estate, he said, ‘I know that you’ll keep working after I’m gone; just promise me one thing; don’t ever make me boring.’” The film never approached the line of “boring,” staying true to Mercury’s wishes, even in its stillest moments, the audience was captivated by the intensity and beauty of the scene and was energized by the performances.
A recurring theme in the film is the importance of family and unconditional love. Many of the tear-jerking moments were during the emotionally intimate scenes between Mercury and his ex-fiancé Mary Austin, played by Lucy Boynton. The beautifully portrayed romantic-turned-platonic relationship between Mercury and Austin speaks to the role of love in life and how true love transcends success, time and sexuality.
Mercury’s struggle with keeping his private life away from the prying public eyes, translates into a commentary on society’s view of homosexuality and the AIDS epidemic of the time. The film showed how Mercury wanted to be viewed as a musician rather than a cautionary tale against AIDS.
Though the early years were not explicated more thoroughly, room was made for the reenactment of Queen’s most famous performance at the 1985 Live Aid concert in Wembley Stadium. The band was dressed in white, stripped of the extravagant outfits and theatrics that was trademark of Queen and stepping into a rebirth. In that performance, Malek fully took hold of Mercury’s character and made the audience feel as if he were singing to them individually, even carrying out the infamous improvisation in which Mercury engaged the audience.
With interwoven motifs of love, identity and individuality, “Bohemian Rhapsody” captures an authentic chemistry among the bandmates and the uncensored life of Freddie Mercury. Although the younger generations were not alive to see Queen on their journey, this film introduces a new generation of fans to the ground-breaking group known as Queen.