Despite earning the No. 1 spot at the box office, this Queen biopic is just OK
Photo courtesy of rogerebert.com | Bohemian Rhapsody, a biopic about Queen, earned the top box office spot in its debut weekend. The film chronicles the band’s ascension to fame but focuses particularly on lead singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek).
Bohemian Rhapsody, a biopic of the British rock band Queen, was finally released eight years after it was initially proposed. The biopic took the No. 1 spot at the box office in its debut weekend, according to CNN, grossing an estimated $50 million in North America and $141.7 million globally.
The movie primarily focuses on Freddie Mercury — from his time as a student who worked at London Heathrow Airport to his journey to fame. Originally, Sacha Baron Cohen was set to play the lead singer. That role was instead reserved for actor Rami Malek, who was tremendously suited for the part.
The early stages of the movie shows Freddie’s family life and his father’s disapproval of his choices. When Mercury is introduced to guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, he impresses them with his voice and brings in bassist John Deacon to form Queen. The group aimed to set themselves apart from other bands of their time with their unique style and experimental and versatile approach in their music.
I would have liked to have seen more of the formation of the band itself and more character development of the other band members, who were otherwise well portrayed. It seemed to take a quick jump about 45 minutes into the film when the band was already recording the six-minute hit “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
The film follows the band’s ascension to fame through hits such as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions,” to name a few. Their 1975 album A Night at the Opera was the band’s first Platinum selling album in the United States and sold more than 6 million copies worldwide.
However, the band members are not without struggle, as they are forced to deal with Freddie’s drug-infused party lifestyle. They distances themselves from Freddie when he receives an offer to pursue a solo career, which he accepts. Freddie also struggles with questions about his sexuality, his relationship with longtime companion Mary Austin and dealing with the stress that comes with fame.
The band sets their differences aside and performs at the Live Aid Concert in 1985 for charity for children in Africa. After Live Aid, the band saw an increase in sales of records and success but held few concerts.
In the movie, Mercury tells his bandmates just days before the Live Aid Concert that he had contracted AIDS. However, this proves to be one of the many plot holes in the film because, according to Mercury’s partner Jim Hutton, Mercury was diagnosed in 1987.
He lived a largely quiet lifestyle in the late 1980s with Hutton. Though the tabloids widely reported that Mercury was ill, he publicly denied that he had AIDS until he released a statement days before his death in 1991.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie. I thought Malek was the right actor for the job and that the music was great, but there could have been better supporting character development. There were some clear plot holes, and the film raised questions of accuracy. Let’s just say this film won’t rock everyone.
By: Michael Rauber | Staff Writer