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November 6, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) --- “The Only Thing More Extraordinary Than Their Music, Is His Story.”

Plot Summary
Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid. While bravely facing a recent AIDS diagnosis, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Queen cements a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day. (1)
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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Most of my life has been imbued with Queen’s songs, so it is no small thing when I say I am a fan of Queen’s music. Directed by Bryan Singer (X-Men: Apocolypse) and written by Anthony McCarten (Darkest Hour; Theory of Everything) and Peter Morgan (The Crown), Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) is the highly anticipated biopic about one of the greatest bands of all time, Queen.

       Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) is a tribute to the legacy of Queen and more specifically Freddie Mercury, as it showcases the band and its history to both old fans and a new audience. In order to fit within a reasonable 2 hours, the film took a more straightforward approach to their storytelling by condensing events into short timelines and occasionally condensing many characters into a couple of fictional personas. While the film does focus predominantly on Freddie's personal life, it is rated PG-13 and with that rating comes some restrictions but that does not mean that it avoids any of the issues he faced nor does it unnecessarily explore his wild private life. That is not what fans would have wanted. Fans wanted a film that focused on the most important parts of Freddie's life, which were the band and its music.
     It showcases a man trying to come to terms with his extraordinary life and how with the help of Queen’s other band members he was able to achieve that. It shows his joy and his loneliness, the mistakes and missteps he’s made, and the complex relationship he had with Mary Astor possibly the only person outside of Queen that he truly loved. And while I do not support his sexual preference, the film tackles his sexuality, some of the aftermath of his excessive partying, and the beginning of being diagnosed with Aids with a level of respect that every person deserves.  All in all, there were a number of powerful moments throughout the film which ultimately comes to an emotional crescendo that is their 1985 Live Aid performance.
     Live Aid was a challenge to every band that played none more so that Queen, who was seen as a legacy act past their prime. But it was not about the headlines or the recognition, rather it was about raising money for the starving and dying in Ethiopia. As such, Queen took their performance seriously and did not let the twenty-minute time cape intimidate them. They rehearsed for three days prior to the event to ensure that they used their allotted time wisely and when they took the stage Queen was the loudest band that day. They bore their hearts to the world as they played their greatest hits, silencing critics and leaving a global audience stunned with one thought in mind, that Queen had absolutely stolen the show. This was the concert that made them a legend and demonstrated how iconic and timeless the music is.
     By showcasing their Live Aid performance, Bohemian Rhapsody ends on such a high note that you can’t help but leave the theater with a smile as the film does an excellent job in making sure that neither Queen nor Freddie Mercury will be easily forgotten. Through the phenomenal visuals effects and a note-for-note recount of their performance, audiences get to experience what it was like to be at the event either for the second or first time.
     The cast performances were incredible. Rami Malek's (Mr. Robot) role as Freddie has an Oscar written all over it as what he does is almost beyond comparison. Lucy Boynton (Murder on the Orient Express) was incredible as Freddie’s lifelong friend and possibly only true love, Mary Austin. Although she had little screen time in comparison to everyone else, she delivered in every scene she was in. Gwilym Lee (Jamestown) as Brian May, Ben Hardy (X-Men: Apocalypse and Only The Brave) as Roger Taylor, and Joseph Mazzello (Jurassic Park; The Pacific) as John Deacon are also a bull's eye as the other members of Queen. It was nice to see Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones and Maze Runner: Death Cure) and Tom Hollander (Pride & Prejudice and Mowgli) in roles that do not make them out as villains, while it was interesting to see Allen Leech (Downton Abbey and The Imitation Game) take on a sort of villainous role. Aaron McCusker (Fortitude) was also good and Mike Myers (Austin Powers) was an unexpected sight and almost unrecognizable under all the makeup.

     Overall, Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) is a truly magnificent and highly anticipated biopic about the legendary band Queen and its frontrunner Freddie Mercury. While the film does focus predominantly on Freddie's personal life and does not avoid any of the issues he faced, it does not unnecessarily explore his wild private life but rather keeps to its family friendly PG-13 rating. Bohemian Rhapsody is a film that focuses on the most important parts of Freddie's life, which were the band and its music. The film builds with powerful moments to an emotional crescendo that was Queen’s 1985 performance at Live Aid, which cemented Queen as legendary and timeless. Although I do not believe in his choice of sexual preference, regardless I am a fan of Queen and I highly recommend this film to everyone. And if you have the chance to see this in IMAX then I urge you to do so, as it is probably the best way to experience this Bohemian Rhapsody in its entirety.

"Now we're four misfits who don't belong together, we're playing for the other misfits. They're the outcasts, right at the back of the room. We're pretty sure they don't belong either. We belong to them." 
- Freddie Mercury

Final Vote ---  9 of 10 stars

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