Bohemian Rhapsody

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Bohemian Rhapsody deals with the essentials about a real life musical group.  How they formed, how they composed music, and how they became a success. While the story is more suggestive in showing who they were, it reenacts and also “reinvents” their career in a very entertaining manner. The band is Queen and the film leads with its front man Fred Mercury. It recreates his life in segments including a job at an airport, meeting band members at a parking lot, and being love struck by his future wife Mary.  It picks up in pace when they are discovered by a major record producer, begin creating songs in studios, and performing  at big concerts around the world. In between those, we also get to know his conservative parents who express a moderate disapproval for their son’s path. Actor Rami Malek is an interesting choice to play Fred Mercury. The singer doesn’t come to mind when you see him with long hair. But as an imitator, Malek is impressive in the movements and affectations done on and off stage. He seems comfortable in the role. Gwilym Lee and Ben Hardy play guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor by bringing out personality and screen presence. Other convincing performances are Lucy Boynton as Mary and Aidan Gillen as the band manager. Allen Leech could have used more subtlety as the shady personal manager Paul Prenter. 

Outside the music, attention is given to Mercury’s path to bisexuality.  How he is attracted to men and how he briefly confesses to his wife. But it is never explained in depth. In one scene, a flirty conversation concludes with a friend making a suggestive comment of Freddies inner conflict, “call me when you like yourself”. However as a movie about musicians and melodies, there is much enjoyment with Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s a delight in this way as it concludes with a sensational reenactment of their Live Aid performance in London. Directed by Bryan Singer, this is the portrayal of a musical group in some of their best times.

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