Bohemian Rhapsody

I’m probably the perfect audience for this movie – I didn’t follow Queen when they were popular, so I have no nostalgic memories of the band to compare the movie to.  For me, the story was fresh and new.  And the soundtrack was great — pretty much every hit song you’ve ever heard by Queen appears at least once.

This is not the story of Farrokh Bulsara, the boy born (with too many teeth) in Zanzibar to Parsi Indian parents and who moved to London when he was 12.  This is the story of Freddie Mercury, the rock legend.  How did he develop his voice?  Where did he learn to play the piano, or to love opera so much?  We don’t get to find that out.  The movie does a fine job of covering the story of the rock band — how they interacted, how they developed songs – as well as Mercury’s slow confrontation with his own homosexuality (still not an easy thing in the 1980s).

Rami Malek does a phenomenal job as Mercury, although the prosthetic overbite was a bit offputting.  Malek has normal teeth, but unusually prominent eyes, which serve the same function of magnetically attracting you to his face. Maybe they could have gone with that.

The supporting cast is also very good.  Especially the cats.  Seriously – they should create an animal-wrangling Oscar category just for these guys.

In one scene, Mercury tussles with a record producer who objects to the operatic scale of Bohemian Rhapsody, which he says would doom it with the public.    He was wrong, of course – the song was a big hit.  In real life, the actor playing the part, Mike Myers, insisted on including the song in his movie, Wayne’s World; after that movie, the song was re-released and became a hit all over again.

The movie includes a montage of negative reviews of the original release of Bohemian Rhapsody.  The public ignored them and embraced the music.  The same thing is happening with the movie – it’s making a lot of money despite some (unjustifiably) negative reviews.

Linda says check it out.

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