At the end of a movie, when the audience gives a round of applause, that’s as good a short review as you are likely to get. That’s what happened last night, when Susan and I went to see the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.

Good Stuff

  • The music. Just great.
  • Rami Malek’s performance. Spookily close at times. And his portrayal of Freddie as someone who could have it all, except for happiness, rang true.
  • Mike Myers’ cameo appearance. He can act.
  • The music. Yes, it’s that good, it’s worth mentioning twice.

The Not So Good Stuff

  • The script. It’s a ‘color by numbers’ job, with only a few sparks of originality or insight.
  • The screwed up timelines – in short, the film plays fast and loose with certain key events (such as the timing of Freddie’s AIDS diagnosis) – to create a contrived Disney type package.
  • The film’s treatment of Freddie’s sexuality doesn’t seem right. There is something missing.
  • The rest of the band are cardboard characters. What a wasted opportunity. Of course, the focus should be on Mercury, but the band members deserved better.
  • The cinematography was bland. Visually, what caught the eye was Malek playing the lead role. Nothing else came close.

It’s a testament to Queen’s music that the good stuff drowns out the rest. It’s a feel good movie that tells a tragic story, but at the same time makes you feel positive about the big, bad world outside – especially if you were around to experienced the real life events of Queen, Mercury, and that amazing Live Aid performance.

One ironic point worth mentioning. The film accurately records the bad reviews the critics gave of the single release Bohemian Rhapsody. That echoes the bad reviews the film got! In both cases, the public ignored the critics. (And, boy, were the critics upset.)

Overall, I’d definitely recommend going to see the movie. It’s good entertainment. Not perfect, but good. As for the real Freddie Mercury and Queen story, you’ll have to look elsewhere.