Arts and Entertainment

“Bohemian Rhapsody” – A Charismatic Portrayal

By Olivia Fries-Farr ’19

As a biopic / music film, “Bohemian Rhapsody”  does not disappoint. This emotional and inspiring movie dramatizes the rise to fame of lead singer and pianist Freddie Mercury and the band Queen.

I waited months for this film to be released in theaters because Queen is one of my favorite bands of all time. I think the writers handled the content perfectly. I especially wanted to know more about Freddie Mercury. Through his portrayal by Rami Malek, I felt the connection to Mercury’s charisma, unique flair and talent.

Along with Malek, the phenomenal cast of characters and stars includes Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton), Brian May (Gwilym Lee), Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello), John Reid (Aiden Gillen), Paul Prenter (Allen Leech), Jim Beach (Tom Hollander), Ray Foster (Mike Meyers), and Jim Hutton (Aaron McCusker).

Some of the facts and timeline information were altered to create a fluid story about the amazing Mercury and his life. The story was written by Peter Morgan and Anthony McCarten, who also wrote the screenplay. The film was directed by Bryan Singer and produced by Jim Beach and Graham King. The executive music producers were Brian May and Roger Taylor. Several production companies made the film that include Queen Films, Ltd., New Regency Films, Regency Enterprises, GK Films and Tribeca Films.  The main distributor is Twentieth Century Fox. Virgin EMI put out the soundtrack and APM produced the music. The authentic (and spectacular) period costumes were designed Julian Day.

Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara in the British protectorate of Zanzibar on September 5, 1946, to Bomi and Jer Bulsara. He also had a sister named Kashmira Cooke. In 1964, his family fled from Zanzibar to England to avoid conflict in the Zanzibar Revolution. The family settled in Middlesex where Freddie attended Ealing Art College in London to study graphic design. During those years, Mercury struggled with his family, especially with his father, as he tried to fit in with England’s culture.

While he attended school, Mercury took up a variety of jobs, such as baggage handler at Heathrow Airport, to contribute to his family and education.  During this time he also wrote songs and followed local singers and bands. He met the “love of his life” Mary Austin in the 70s and they eventually got engaged to be married.

While at a club one night, Mercury ran into a local band outside and pitched himself as a singer. Mercury had a four-octave range and four additional incisors that helped create his unique sounding vocals. From this point on the film delves into the harsh reality of the music world in England when Mercury and Queen started their band in London in 1970. The movie traces their milestones through the 70s, 80s, and early 90s. Additionally, the film includes Mercury’s sexual curiosity and his admission to his fiancé that he is bisexual. The film evolves through the triumphs and hardships he and the band faced as they made music history.

Mercury wrote many successful songs, such as the title song “Bohemian Rhapsody” and others like “Killer Queen,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Somebody To Love,” “We are the Champions” and “Don’t Stop Me Now.” But the film is more than music, however. There are many aspects of this film that are heart wrenching, intense, and important to understand because during the span of Mercury’s career and lifetime there were a lot of issues that were being publicized about homosexuality, drugs and AIDS. The film is worth watching, and I give it a “10 out of 10” on The Bamboo’s review scale.

If you have any questions about the story details or certain parts of the timeline and characters in the movie, check out the following links for more information.

Love Of His Life: https://www.msn.com/en-us/entertainment/celebrity/meet-mary-austin-the-only-woman-to-steal-freddie-mercurys-heart/ar-AAxrjdl

Albums: https://rateyourmusic.com/list/queenii/queens_albums__in_order_/

Charts: https://www.billboard.com/music/queen/chart-history/hot-100/3

Queen the Band: http://www.queenonline.com/

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018): https://www.foxmovies.com/movies/bohemian-rhapsody

Favorite Quotes:

Brian May: “Our lead singer just quit.”
Freddie Mercury: “Well then you’ll need someone new.”

Mary Austin: “I love the way you move on stage. The whole room belongs to you. Don’t you see what you could be?”

Freddie Mercury: “Roger, there’s only room in this band for one hysterical queen.”

Roger Taylor: “You’re a legend, Freddie.”
Freddie Mercury: “We’re all legends.”

Image credit: Alex Bailey

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