Bohemian Rhapsody: A Shameless Plug For "I'm In Love With My Car"
Updated: Oct 14, 2019
I'm not kidding. This movie was clearly a plug for one of the blandest songs Queen ever did. I mean, the song drones on for three bloody minutes! All I can say for certain is that the guy in the song is currently pumping his gas tank . . . and not to get gas out. Remember, eternity is a variable based on what your enduring, and that song is pretty damned eternal. Despite this, I think you actually hear the name of this song more than the song the movie was named after! Thank God they didn't actually play it. And speaking of songs they didn't play:
My only real complaint about this movie is that YOU NEVER HEAR THE ENTIRETY OF THE SONG ITS NAMED AFTER! I mean, its like a sick joke. They tease you so many times, but never, not even in the credits, do you hear the full song. I know. I waited till the end of the credits just in case. Hearing Bohemian Rhapsody piping through the theater speakers was one of the selling points of the movie for me.
Aside from that this is actually a damned good movie. At its heart its a movie that takes risks about a band that took risks. Its infused with the spirit that led Queen to greatness by simply saying no to The Box (No not Jack in the Box). There's something refreshing about seeing people who aren't afraid to try something new succeeding, which is exactly what Queen did. And of course it also shows that doing so lends to mistakes. Perhaps that's why they kept bringing up 'I'm In Love With My Car' . . .
Seriously, don't listen to that song; just take my word for it.
Okay, but I warned you.
Ears done bleeding? Good. Now I don't mean to suggest that this movie suggests that Homosexuality (one of the things Freddie tries) is a mistake. As near as I can tell, you either are or aren't gay. (The LGBT community made me add that; man they are everywhere!). I think we can all agree that the drugs and the free trust, on the other hand, are mistakes.
And, yeah its kind of a let down to end a movie about a guy who died that way. But its not like we didn't know it wasn't going to happen. And along the way Remi Malek truly captured the showman in Freddie Mercury, from the terrible dancing to the . . . questionable taste in clothing, to the pure energy he brought to his shows. You can't help but see that this is someone that truly loves what they're doing and appreciate it. And the movie shows it all. No apologies. No pulled punches. Just the truth about the man.
Well, not the entire truth. It appears there are rules about how fast and loose you can be with a rock biopic. Such as:
-No one cares how the band got together: The movie suggests that Freddie just happened by the band just as they were in need of a new singer. In reality he'd known the band for some time, and had apparently been adamant about joining. When Tim Staffel left, Freddie slotted right in, extra teeth and all.
-Dinner parties are boring: As such, the regular, elegant dinner parties Freddie Mercury was apparently known for were switched with wild, drug infused, alcohol soaked parties.
-More drama: In the movie the band broke up as Freddie decided to go solo. In reality he wasn't even the first to do a solo album, and they stopped touring simply because after a decade of such they were tired. And far from being estranged they all remained good friends.
-Need more drama? Add a Yoko Ono: In this case the movie overplays the effect Paul Prenter (played by Allen Leech) had on the group. He was Freddie's manager and lover, but he never got the band to break up. Brian May and Roger Taylor did blame him for the sound of 'Hot Space', but that seems to be as far as it went. And he did apparently dissuade Mercury from radio talk shows, but he didn't hide Live Aid from the singer. He did however out Mercury's sexuality and practices. Which leads to:
-Time is just a construct: And that construct can be manipulated. Several dates don't actually line up in the movie. Freddie didn't discover he had AIDS until after the Live Aid concert. In the movie he has a heart to heart with the group just before the concert as a way of cementing their newly reacquired collaboration. Freddie also didn't fire Yoko (I mean Paul) until a year later, and apparently this was due to his disclosure of Freddy's personal life instead of in reaction to it. But all of these things apparently get all loosey goosey when you need more drama.
The movie takes other risks as well. It shows the entire Queen contribution to the Live Aid concert at the end. It was a surprise but it actually works. It also illustrates the lifestyle of Freddie Mercury, which is still a risk in this day and age. All in all I think the risks worked in the movie's advantage. But many seem to disagree.
Despite these (and a few other failings I find too trifling to worry about) I found this movie to be well done and deeply moving. It's a story about a group that takes risks, about friendship, about trust, and about mistakes. I particularly like how the movie shows Mercury fighting for new ideas even when they aren't his own. I'd give it an easy 89%.