It’s had mixed reviews from the national press, with complaints that the film didn’t really touch upon Freddie Mercury’s private life, but I, along with many others at Bude’s Rebel Cinema this afternoon, really enjoyed it.
Rami Malek as the Queen frontman played a brilliant part. The critics have to find something to complain about but it was a foot-stomping performance and the comments I heard from the audience as we left were very positive. When you really listen to the words of Bohemian Rhapsody (which I used to nip out of school at lunchtime to listen to) and think about the nature of Mercury’s death, it seems to me a prophetic song. Amazingly, I still know all the words, and many youngsters do, too. It’s a classic. I also thought Gwilym Lee was so like a younger Brian May, it was uncanny.
Some critics have complained that the film, a biopic, was not debauched and decadent enough to be an accurate portrayal of its star. Others claim his friendship with Mary Austin (before he acknowledged his bisexuality) was overblown. Some complained of stereotypes, or that areas of his life such as his Parsi identity were not fully investigated.
To be honest, most ordinary people watching who remembered Queen in their heyday, including me, did not know all the personal life details of Mercury. They were not that important in the 1970s.
When I was younger, it was his powerful and charismatic stage persona which was important. Reality is he popped pills, threw wild parties, and was arrogant with it but that wasn’t what we fans wanted to know about.
He was also a personality the film audience invested in – at times he was unbearable, but that was not all the time. Most importantly, despite knowing the outcome, when at his lowest ebb, we wanted Freddie Mercury to come back fighting and we were not disappointed. I’d recommend a watch.
Bohemian Rhapsody is playing this week at The Rebel.