Hearts pump fast both onscreen and off, and the audience members can barely restrain themselves from singing along. “Bohemian Rhapsody” opens with a screaming crowd, thousands of people cheering on as they wait for what will become one of the most iconic concerts in history. We only see the back of his head, but we instantly know who the performer is. Farrokh Bulsara, more commonly known as Freddie Mercury, and his legendary band Queen have finally taken their place on the big screen. The audience follows Mercury from the beginning of his music career, from the awkward first shows to the quintessential performance at the international Live Aid concert. The film starts with Mercury as an awkward yet talented young performer and the band’s early gigs. We witness the genesis of songs and albums with a touch of humor surrounding the band. From this shaky beginning the audience sees Queen turn into an iconic household name and Mercury becoming a star like no other. The film is “no bed of roses,” in the lyrics of Mercury himself. The star falls into a deep self-destructive and turbulent period while under the ill-intentioned guidance of Paul Prenter. He crashes into a drug-driven and manic lifestyle until finally firing his manipulative assistant while soaked to the bone in rain and becoming more sick by the minute. The backstage of an early show, crowded with amateur musicians and groupies, is where Mercury meets Mary Austin. A simple bit of flirting tenderness evolves into one of the greatest loves of his life. Years later after they’ve parted ways, he meets the man who he’ll spend the rest of his life with while surrounded by broken glasses and leftover party decorations. Jim Hutton, who would later become Mercury’s husband, takes his first steps into Mercury’s life with only a conversation and a kiss. Mercury’s relationships with his fellow bandmates are also front and center, especially during the tense break up of the band midway through their career. Fueled by personal dilemmas, identity crises, and the struggles of living in the public eye, Queen fights in ridiculously humorous and dramatic moments, eventually breaking up only to come back together again. No part of Mercury’s life is left in the dark. His Parsi heritage, love of cats, and polar personality are all perfectly portrayed by main actor Rami Malek. In one of the best performances of the year, if not the decade, Malek takes the god-like persona of Mercury and humanizes it in shockingly emotional and awe-inspiring manner. The film is not hesitant to deal with Mercury’s heartbreaking contraction of the deadly AIDS virus. The awareness is there, but the film refuses to let Mercury’s memory be defined by his disease. Just as Mercury would have wanted, the film ends with the reuniting of Queen and the Live Aid concert that rocked the world. Although critics may have judged the film’s style, I thoroughly enjoyed the humor and emotion of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The excellent acting, visuals, and musical drama make for a movie for the ages.
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