Yesterday I plodded on over to the big Cineworld in Glasgow to stretch my cinematic legs. That image doesn’t quite make sense, but it’s fancier than saying ‘I went to the cinema’ so I’m leaving it in.
I actually went to see Venom recently, but completely forgot to write it up (despite making the title art and everything) and now I’m not sure whether to bother. Anyway, yesterday was Bohemian Rhapsody’s time to shine. It was quite a busy cinema for saying I was there at 2pm on a Wednesday – does nobody work anymore? Clearly the aged couple to my right were unused to the cinema experience because they huffed and puffed all the way through the (standard) thirty minutes of adverts and the man exclaimed ‘about time too!’ extremely loudly when the film began. Lovely.
Despite the busy cinema, I had a great time.
Bohemian Rhapsody follows Queen in their beginning stages, and then ultimately focuses on Freddie Mercury’s life. The film gave me serious chills all the way through, which I think is a good sign. If Rami Malek (playing Freddie Mercury) wins an Oscar for this, I won’t be too shocked.
Since the film is about Queen, there were several cinematic ‘live’ music performances peppered through the plot which made it a really fun viewing experience. The film culminates in their famous LiveAid performance, and that was incredible to watch. I didn’t really know the backstory, since I was born in ’97, and didn’t realise that Queen hadn’t been playing together for a while when LiveAid was held.
Speaking of which, I’m not sure how accurate to the story Bohemian Rhapsody was – but I know that Brian May and Jim Beach worked on the film, so hopefully not too much has been hugely fictionalised. It did prompt me to go and research Farrokh Bulsara (Freddie’s real name) and pore over details of his life. I was entirely fascinated by Mary’s role in the film. Freddie maintains she is the love of his life and is genuinely crestfallen when she moves on, even after he has accepted that he is gay. (This is what happens in the film, he tells Mary he thinks he is bisexual and she says ‘No, you’re gay’ – which rings far too true for many bisexual people trying to come out… I’m not sure if the film purposefully erases his bisexuality, or if he was gay, or if he was just queer without having or needing a label and I don’t think we’ll ever know because he was so supremely private about his life outside of music.) I think Freddie wanted Mary to stay with him, at his side, entirely loyal and without a love-life of her own – or at least that’s how it comes across in Bohemian Rhapsody. It sound selfish, but he loved her so completely, just needed another kind of experience which she couldn’t provide. It’s not his fault that he ultimately liked men. It’s heartbreaking, really.
Also heartbreaking was the depiction of Freddie’s discovery of his AIDS. I really liked how the film broached this: not shying away from it, having it openly named, but also not letting that be the main focus of the film. Freddie purposefully kept his illness private, not wanting to be a poster boy for AIDS or a cautionary tale. He just wanted to make great music. The film emulated some of this privacy by having the news fed to the audience in subtle ways until Freddie tells the rest of Queen.
Overall, I’d highly recommend going to see this if you want a heartwarming film with some cracking tunes threaded through. It’s a biopic with heart, and it’s easy viewing. Let me know which bits you cry at – I think I cried three times which is pretty good for me.
(My Twitter is still down, so I’ve been way more active on Instagram stories to make up for it.)