Film Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

Ian Caffarel, Staff Writer

Is this real life, or just a fantasy?


The new movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a telling account of the life of Freddie Mercury, the vocalist of the rock group Queen from it’s beginnings up to the Live Aid show in 1985.


The movie stars Rami Malek as Mercury, Joseph Mazzello as bassist John Deacon, Gwilym Lee as lead guitarist Brian May, and Ben Hardy as drummer Roger Taylor. The real-life May and Taylor produced the movie alongside Graham King and Robert De Niro. Bryan Singer is the director. The soundtrack is mainly Queen songs, such as the movie’s title track, “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “Somebody to Love,” and “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions.”


The movie starts at the Live Aid concert, then skips back a decade and a half to young Freddie, known as Farrokh Bulsara, as a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport, who meets a band called Smile, and joins them, later becoming Queen.


The movie then gets more involved in the band’s early struggles and rise to fame, with about six minutes or so being given to the movie’s title track and the controversy about being aired on the radio, given that it’s nearly twice the maximum allowed length at the time; that, and the manager wanting “I’m In Love With My Car” to be the single (“BoRhap,” as it’s known for short, got released on the B-side.)


From there, it goes into their further success, then tensions with the band as Freddie wants to explore solo projects, and his time in Munich, Germany. Eventually, he and the band reconcile, around the same time he discovers he has AIDS. He discloses this in the leadup to Live Aid, before leading what is considered the greatest live performance ever.


“Bohemian Rhapsody” appeals to many, but  Queen, or general rock n’ roll music fans will particularly like this film.

”Bohemian Rhapsody”  takes artistic liberty for certain moments; for instance, Freddie finds out he has AIDS before Live Aid, when he really found this out afterwards. In addition to that, they were not aware of his condition until a day before his death. And on top of that, they spend their early years battling a tough record executive, Ray Foster, who disproved of their most famous track (“I pity your wife if you think six bloody minutes is forever.”) Bad mistakes, it’s made a few, but most of these are passable for the sake of adding drama to the movie, as well as keeping it short. Going more in depth about Mercury’s AIDS struggle, his death, and the band’s life afterwards would have made for a movie that runs longer than it’s two-hour, 15-minute run time.


Moreover, and not really about the film, but about Queen; even if you’re not into their music, or music around that period, they’ve still had an impact on modern popular culture that’s impossible to gauge. “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” are played ad nauseum at worldwide sporting events, and most radio stations don’t play one without the other. In addition, Lady Gaga took her stage name from the song “Radio Ga Ga;” she said that she “adored” the band.


Now, the question: Is it worth watching? If you’re willing to overlook the mistakes in how it depicts most of Queen’s early days and some of the aftermath, then yes, it’s worth the price of admission. If you’re the kind of person who only will pick out it’s flaws, Beelzebub has a devil put aside for you. And also, it made $311 million at the box office, against a $50 million budget. It has the time and power, but it still has yet to have it’s finest hour. The movie will not make a supersonic man (or woman) out of you, but you will have a good time, you’ll don’t want it to stop at all.


After Mercury’s death in 1991, the surviving band members and manager Jim Beach started the Mercury Phoenix trust, dedicated to fighting AIDS. Visit to learn more.