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Movie Review: “Bohemian Rhapsody” touches on Mercury’s life

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https://lvcampustimes.org/2018/11/movie-review-bohemian-rhapsody-touches-on-mercurys-life/

Emily J. Sullivan
Staff Writer

An astrophysicist, a dentist and an electrical engineer walk into a bar and meet a young Parsi with a four-octave vocal range.

“Bohemian Rhapsody,” a biopic focused on iconic 1970s band Queen, centers around the late and beloved Freddie Mercury.

The film has topped the box office charts as number one ever since opening weekend. 

While critics have had a less-than stellar response to the film, many seem to agree on one thing – Rami Malek gives an extraordinary performance in his starring role as Freddie Mercury. 

Audiences, however, have gone wild for the intensely crowd pleasing performances and musical sequences that have filled theaters with clapping, stomping, dancing and crying since the film’s release. 

The film begins with a starry-eyed Farrokh Bulsara fortuitously meeting his future band mates just as they lost their lead singer. 

Bulsara confronts the band and lets out a small taste of what he can offer them vocally. 

His talent then convinces the musicians that he should be their newest addition. 

Their acceptance begins his transformation into the Freddie Mercury we all know and love. 

The misfit musicians have undeniable chemistry, a flair for the dramatic and a musical uniqueness that gets them noticed and further drives their success. 

While following the four as they write and produce popular hits like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You” and “Another One Bites The Dust,” the film illustrates the skepticism that the band received when they insisted on taking their music outside of the box.

Much of their “out-of-the-box” music included operatic sections and the production of songs that are easily twice the length of any typical song played on the radio.

In addition to depicting Queen’s exciting road to success, the biopic zooms in on Freddie Mercury’s personal life. 

The viewers get a peek into Mercury’s family roots, portraying him as the rebellious son of conservative Parsi parents. 

He was the oddball of their two children. 

The movie adequately attempts to portray Mercury’s demeanor as the lonely, gay rock star, of which he was. 

In his early days performing with Queen, Mercury met and fell in love with a fan, Mary Austin, for whom he wrote the song, “Love Of My Life.” 

Mercury and Austin’s relationship sadly began to crumble as Mercury’s sexuality became more apparent.

An admittance to being bisexual, and later gay, led to the end of their relationship.

However, Mercury still loved Austin. 

Mercury bought Austin a house next door to his own, continued to love and care for Austin until the end of his life, and even after, as he left everything he had to her in his will. 

Mercury was deeply private and, to this day, no one knows exactly when he was diagnosed with AIDS. 

In the film it is made to appear as though he gets the news just before his legendary performance at an AIDS benefit concert, Live Aid, in 1985. 

Mercury’s loneliness and grief regarding his impending death seeps through accurately in Malek’s portrayal, as well as in Mercury’s own lyrics from the time. 

Even in Mercury’s songs written years before, his lyrics featured emotions of somberness. 

For instance, when he belts out “I don’t want to die,” while playing the piano in the hit, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” for which the movie is named. 

Audiences know what they are getting themselves into when they buy tickets, as any Mercury fan knows how the story ends. 

Freddie Mercury died in November of 1991 after losing his battle against AIDS. 

The film closes on an emotional note in a breathtaking sequence of the Live Aid concert, depicting Mercury at his best. 

Emily J. Sullivan can be reached at emily.sullivan@laverne.edu.

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