The expectations were very high when it was announced that Rami Malek was going to be portraying the iconic frontman performer of Queen, the immortal Freddie Mercury.
The biographical film, Bohemian Rhapsody, directed by Bryan Singer, received a rating of only PG-13. The whole idea of making this movie stirred up a lot of buzz because you have purists who would be looking with a fine-tooth comb for any inaccuracies that dare follow a different story line or creative vision that doesn’t mesh with their memory of Queen, and the real members of the band that may not feel they were depicted fairly or accurately. In all honesty, it took me a few times after seeing the different trailers launched to really get excited. I had a few questions wondering if this movie would solely delve into controversial waters like Freddie’s sexuality or his passing from HIV/AIDS.
Well, by the end of the movie, tears were streaming down my face and Malek showed the world that he could not only fit into the tightest jeans possible, but he had the skill and passion to portray Freddie Mercury in such a genuine and heartfelt way. It was revealed by critics that Malek actually was lip-syncing (Marc Matel, a Canadian singer was part of the actual vocal) and he had the assistance of Spoons keyboardist Rob Preuss to help him with his piano moves. In reality, it takes some big chops to get a multi-octave vocal range identical to the late Mercury. I realize that doesn’t sit well with some people, but to each their own. I was still very moved by not only the story, but the way Rami really connected with the role and made you feel like he had that soul of Freddie Mercury. All the vocal performances throughout the movie, especially the epic song; Radio Ga Ga (yes, a personal favourite), were still very inspiring.
The one distracting part was the prosthetic teeth that Malek had in the movie. Freddie Mercury was known for his overbite, but I think the designers went a wee bit overboard.
I’m glad that the director and writers didn’t dwell on Freddie’s sexual promiscuity or orientation. There was so much more to his life than who he went to bed with. One moment in the movie will stop you in your tracks though. I will not share this spoiler, but it really encompassed the most vulnerable side of Mercury that lets you know that despite his grandiose and flamboyant persona, he was human too. The scene managed to subtly show, the profound impact that Mercury had on his fans and what they meant to him in return.
As the years go by and the champagne stops flowing and the makeup comes off, the only thing we ever need is just somebody to love.