Mama, just killed a man. Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger now he’s dead. Mama, life had just begun., but now I’ve gone and thrown it all away.
Bohemian Rhapsody is no longer just a song loved by millions, but now also the perfect tribute to the legendary musical genius, Freddie Mercury. I was born five years after the death of Freddie Mercury and all I have ever known is the legend. I’ve seen the music videos, learned the songs and lived in awe of the creative man that was Queen. After watching this film, I will never be able to listen to another Queen song the same way. Having been born 23 years after the release of Queen’s debut album, I heard the songs simply as genius lyrics and an upbeat tempo. What I didn’t hear was the emotion and the meaning behind the words I was singing along to. This movie added a deeper appreciation to the already deep respect I had for the irreplaceable Freddie Mercury. It only cemented the legend status he already held in my heart.
The movie begins with Freddie, living in his parent’s home, knowing he is destined for greatness, but having the people around him doubt him at every turn. Whether he was standing up to his traditional father or to studio executives Mercury never doubted his instincts when it came to music. If the studio had had it their way, we would never have been blessed with the greatest song ever written, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Overall it was a movie about a man learning to love himself and all the good that comes from that. The movie however didn’t sugarcoat things and was not afraid to make Mercury seem like the villain when needed. As the band’s stardom skyrocketed, with Freddie gaining significantly more recognition than the other band members, his ego sometimes got in the way and he became a bit conceited. The film showed his journey climbing the ladder of fame, starting at the top and later falling to the bottom, after finding himself alone in a mansion, with the only people around him using him for money. We then see his climb back to the top after he hits the bottom. His low was ocean deep, but his rise back to the top was legendary.
Rami Malek was able to bring the magical essence of Mercury to life and was the ultimate casting choice. He truly stole every scene he was in, just as Freddie stole the stage during every show. I had to ask my friend if they had dubbed in Mercury’s voice during the singing scenes or if Malek was actually singing, and I was surprised to find out that for the most part, I was actually hearing Malek’s singing voice. It was eerily similar to Mercury’s own. I don’t know what is going on with actors these days but it seems as if they can all sing all of a sudden. The outfits and stage presence were completely on point and were the perfect homage to a music icon. He was just amazing. I felt as if I was watching the actual Freddie Mercury, which I appreciate because I will never really get the chance. I have always said, if I could see any band in concert, dead or alive, I would see Queen. After seeing this movie, I really wish that was an actual possibility.
Not much was said about the creation of their debut album, except for the fact that they were not afraid to be experimental. They used coins and all kinds of everyday items, to create a sound that was never heard before. For me, it was interesting to learn about how the subsequent albums and songs were put together. Songs like, “Love of my Life,” “You’re my Best Friend” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” were all written and recorded in a secluded farmhouse in the countryside. “Love of my Life” was written for Freddie’s girlfriend and “We Will Rock You” was written as a way to get audiences involved in the performance, showing just how much they cared about their fans. It is one thing to read about someone’s life, but watching it playing out on screen is a whole different experience. You feel the pain they feel. This was especially true in the scene where Mercury was given his AIDS diagnosis. I know this is a movie and exaggerations were made for cinematic effect, but his attitude after hearing his diagnosis was inspirational. He didn’t want anyone to console him or spend any time around him in sadness. All he wanted to do was play music, and that is exactly what he did.
Mercury once questioned in “Who Wants to Live Forever,” if anyone would want to. I hope he knows that through watching Bohemian Rhapsody, viewers are transported to a world in which Freddie never died and Queen lives on forever. Long may she reign.