It is difficult to accurately describe Freddie Mercury’s incomparable presence both on and off stage. The lead singer of Queen is indisputably one of the great rock gods of modern history. Born of Parsi descent, Freddie’s birth name was Farrokh Bulsara. But through the series of events that shaped the singer’s extraordinary life, Freddie Mercury emerged so triumphantly that many (including Freddie himself) believed it to be preordained. Not only did the man know he was born to perform, but his genre-bending, risk taking contributions to music have inspired artists for decades.
I am sure no amount of words could ever truly describe the experience of watching Queen perform live. Which is why a biopic about Freddie and Queen’s unfathomable rise to fame was always going to be a tall order to fill. But Bohemian Rhapsody, directed by Bryan Singer manages to deliver.
Originally, Sacha Baron Cohen was confirmed to play the iconic lead singer, but apparently left the project due to creative differences with the remaining band members. The decision to cast 37-year-old, Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek was met with skepticism. Having only ever seen Malek wearing a hoodie, crouched over a laptop in Mr Robot, Queen and film fanatics alike found it hard to imagine the actor in unitards and tasseled jackets. But despite not being as tall as Freddie and having to wear a fake set of front teeth designed to mimic Freddie’s overbite, Malek’s transformation is so resounding that you wouldn’t question its authenticity.
The film showcases a full timeline of the band’s career, from their first official gig to their performance at Live Aid in 1985. You also get to peak behind the curtain at the band’s loving, complicated, and challenging group dynamics. Not to mention, an account of some of the most personal moments in Freddie Mercury’s life, including his relationship with Mary Austin, struggle with addiction, and eventually his AIDS diagnosis.
The strong attachment to Freddie you are bound to feel when watching this film results in a few serious, tear jerking moments. Luckily, from start to finish a sound track of Queen’s greatest hits is provided to keep your energy high and feet stomping. You will not be judged for singing along to this film. In fact, it is highly recommended.
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