Movie Review: Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2018 biographical movie starring Rami Malek and Lucy Boynton.

Synopsis: In 1970, a Zanzibar refugee soon to be known to the world as Freddie Mercury meets drummer Roger Taylor and guitar player Brian May and, along with bassist John Deacon, the men form the band Queen. The group quickly becomes a major success but tensions and Mercury's personal problems threaten to put an end to the legendary band.

Who's In It?

Review

My wife wanted to see this movie when it first came out. However, I convinced her to wait until it was on DVD and we could get it through Netflix. This is because, even though I'm a huge fan of the band Queen, I'm always pretty skeptical when it comes to movies of this nature because, more often than not, they wind up being a bit of a disappointment. 

After watching this movie over the weekend, however, I can honestly say it is an exception to that rule. We enjoyed it immensely.

There are a couple things, in particular, that really stood out for me when it came to this movie. The first was the way it was much more balanced when telling Freddy Mercury's (Malek) story than I was expecting it to be. Yes, it spent a great deal of time on his downward slide and the tensions that nearly broke up the band he helped found. However, it was done in a way that had us feeling mixed emotions. One moment, we thought he was a big jerk, the next moment we were feeling sorry for him. In other words, the movie made him, and the other band members, human.

One of my other major concerns, especially since my teenage daughter was watching it with us, was how much inappropriate material the movie would wind up having. Considering Mercury's well-documented wild side, this film had the potential to turn into a soft core porn film pretty quickly and, even with the PG-13 rating, I was still pretty much expecting that. However, the film did a good job of staying away from that. There was quite a bit implied, but the movie stopped short of crossing any lines.

My favorite part of this film, however, had to be the ending. When the movie started and showed Freddy about to take the stage at Live Aid, I figured it would wind up ending at about the same point. I wasn't expecting and was pleasantly surprised to see the film re-create the band's whole Live Aid set. Even my daughter loved it. And, that's saying a lot.

My only real complaint about the film is I felt it jumped around a little too much and I kind of wished it would have told the band's story from a specific perspective, such as through the eyes of his girlfriend/friend Mary Austin (Boynton), which was one of the most interesting things about this film. However, even though I think it might have improved the movie a bit, I still think the overall film was enjoyable regardless.

Final Opinion

I had some doubts, but this wound up being a fantastic movie that gave some real insight into one of my favorite bands. I would recommend taking the time to watch it if you get a chance.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 06/03/2019, StevenHelmer
 
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