Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
Critic Consensus: Bohemian Rhapsody hits a handful of high notes, but as an in-depth look at a beloved band, it offers more of a medley than a true greatest hits collection.
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Critic Reviews for Bohemian Rhapsody
As for Freddie Mercury, is this his real life? Is this just fantasy - not sure that really matters either. When Malek's strutting like a peacock, this movie is a decently amusing escape from reality.
Malek does an impressive job of re-creating Mercury's moves onstage, but the core of the performance is Malek's intensely thoughtful, insight-rich channelling of Mercury's hurt, his alienation and isolation even at the height of his fame.
Ideally, a film like this would attempt to add to, or to contextualize, a legacy. Instead, "Bohemian Rhapsody" tries to sanctify it, pack it in bubble wrap to protect it from causing, or being caught in, any friction.
Some of the liberties do Mercury and Queen an injustice, but most are harmless (if dim). A hundred small things wrong barely matter when there are one or two big things right.
The biopic reaches out for the very last row, and in doing so, it becomes unfortunately basic, flattening out the fascinating character while sanding down and rearranging elements of the story to serve the band.
Audience Reviews for Bohemian Rhapsody
Biopics are trickier than they appear because how best can you distill the essence, and significance, of a person into two hours? We've edged away from the standard cradle-to-grave biopics more in favor of stories that hinge on monumental moments in a person's life, meant to encapsulate their life both in micro and macro. Bohemian Rhapsody favors the former approach, which causes the movie to feel like it's rushing through the cornerstones of Queen singer Freddie Mercury's life. Even at over two hours, the movie feels like it has little time for things, often jumping into polished, well-edited montages of time progression. The creative birth of many of the band's hits are treated as absurdly easy formations, going from a clap of hands and stomp of feet to "We Will Rock you," or a bass line to "Another One Bites the Dust." It's like the movie is checking boxes for a biopic with an anxious eye toward the clock. Mercury's homosexuality (he comes out as bisexual to his long-time girlfriend who corrects him and calls him gay) is given its due, not having been underplayed in an effort to court a more mainstream audience. Mercury's sense of sexuality, and the struggle of his own acceptance, is essential to getting to know this flamboyant front man. Except several of these scenes feel mishandled, which is odd considering director Bryan Singer (X-Men) has often found parallels in big studio films for the gay experience. The movie seems to say if his band mates had only accepted him more then maybe he wouldn't have fallen into promiscuity by a bad influence and thus contracted HIV. There are also some pat answers as well like a disapproving father. However, the faults of Bohemian Rhapsody are compensated by its virtues, none more so than the electric performance by Rami Malek (TV's Mr. Robot) as Mercury. The actor struts and preens with infectious charisma, and a mouth full of Mercury's oversized choppers, and he miraculously captures the powerful stage magic of his character. The concluding 1985 Live Aid performance is astounding to witness and a reflection of just how essential and virtuosic Mercury and company were as live performers. It's a sustained set of several hits and the movie just sings to a close on the highest of high notes. Bohemian Rhapsody is carried by the music and performance of Mercury the character and Malek the actor. It will make you want to rock out to Queen on the car ride home. Nate's Grade: B-
It's inevitable. Multiple biopics are now created on a yearly basis, and will continue to be made until the end of time. In my opinion, if not a single writer can come up with an original concept, then exploring the true story of someone or something is far more interesting than remaking a classic film. Bohemian Rhapsody is the latest in a long line of already released and upcoming biopics-and it's one of the most enjoyable theatre experiences I've had all year. Already thinking I knew a lot about this story before going in, I was pleasantly surprised by quite a few aspects of this story. Whether or not you're a fan of the band Queen or not, this movie has the makings of a film that can please many viewers. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this film, and here's why. I knew Bohemian Rhapsody was a movie that was going to heavily focus on Freddie Mercury over the rest of the band, which I thought was going to feel imbalanced, but the way his story is presented here makes it seem like his life had the most story to tell. From working at an airport to performing one of the most memorable concerts in history, this film takes you on a decade-long journey that's well worth your time. I was never bored, because it either wows you with spectacle, engages you with its drama, or has you guessing about where the film is going to take you next. It's not a perfect movie, but I think I can go as far as to say it's a perfectly made film in terms of its presentation. I'm always looking for a movie to break out of the cliched way of telling a biopic, but I will admit this film slightly suffers from that at times. It does feel like it jumps from year to year, simply hitting the most important aspects of Mercury's life, which is fine, but we've seen that structure throughout numerous films in the past. With that said, that's truly the only complaint I can come up with here. If you don't like listening to the music of Queen, then I feel that will also be a detriment to the movie for you, but that would just be personal taste anyway. For the movie that it is, it works extremely well. What surprised me the most about Bohemian Rhapsody was the performance by Rami Malek as the leading man. I've seen him countless times in the past, appearing as comedic relief in films like Need for Speed or the Night at the Museum franchise, but I've never seen him shine in a leading dramatic role before. If this performance doesn't put him on the map, I'm not sure what will, because I was blown away by his portrayal here. Even if this movie suffered from lazy writing or a lack of energy, Malek's performance would've still held my attention, and that says a lot, especially for someone who I never expected to perform like this. In the end, Bohemian Rhapsody benefits from great editing (which hardly jumps out at me very often), some very solid direction (controversy aside), concert sequences that will impress many viewers, and an overall brisk pacing, even with the lengthy run time. I had a blast watching this movie and even with all of the depressing elements of this story, it's always well-balanced with happier or energetic moments. Aside from the lead performance, I can't see this movie receiving many nominations, but I will say that I can see it becoming a fan favourite movie of 2018. This is the definition of a crowd-pleaser. Bohemian Rhapsody is a great theatre experience from start to finish.
In the end, it doesn't really matter that you have all those amazing songs and some fantastic performances if the movie's script is so lazy and mediocre at best, unable to explore who Freddie Mercury was as a person and frustratingly superficial about the whole thing (including the songs).
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