Is this the real life, or is it Bohemian Rhapsody…?

*this is a review post. I was kindly treated to tickets and a friend and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie.
I have tried not to make this too spoiler filled, that you can still go and enjoy it*

Freddie Mercury was the first and probably the only famous person that I truly mourned. In fact, I cried for days after he died. I was Queen fan, introduced to them by a school friend. There was something about their music, eclectic and differently from what I thought was the naff pop music that my other school friends listened to, that sang to my soul. 

Freddie was eccentric, dramatic, camp, flamboyant, and interesting. He was outrageous, and outrageously talented and I liked that. He could take random words and put them into a song that thousands of people wanted to sing a long to. 

I remember the news announcement that he had AIDS. At that time it was something that was was not really talked about amongst us because it sounded scary and we all felt like it was a plague that no one knew enough about, but was being proclaimed as a world killer. We all wondered what it meant. The announcement of his death came a day later. We sat in stunned silence, listening to the news. It was a Sunday, and I was at boarding school so we had the whole day to watch the news, digest it, in disbelief, and cry, listen to Queen songs, cry some more. There were a handful of us, shocked and grieving the death of a man we didn’t know personally but loved nonetheless. 

I have been a lifelong fan of Queen. I own all their albums from the very early to those released after he died, and newer albums re released and remastered since. My children learned to sing We Will Rock you along side the usual nursery rhymes, and I have actually met Brian May. In Tesco no less. He was wandering around, doing some shopping, and I looked at him, realised who it was, and sheepishly approached him and asked him if he would write his name on my arm. I had no paper on me at the time, but had a pen in my bag. He was amused but complied and because he probably spends his life being ambushed by fans, he didn’t seem phased. My children were utterly bewildered as to why “you got all weird and asked that man with the funny hair, to write on your arm”? Then I explained to them that he was Brian May, and played with Queen, and they got it. 

So for me, the release of Bohemian Rhapsody, the movie about Freddie and Queen’s rise to fame, is partly nostalgia, partly reliving my teen years and partly sadness. 

The movie is well casted. The actors playing the band members look very much like their real life counterparts, and it’s quite strange to watch and well done. 

Freddie himself, played by Rami Malek is as good as I can ever imagine someone playing Freddie be. I have watched a lot of footage, films, documentaries and videos of Freddie and he seems to have captured something of him, and played him well. 

The storyline is very low key from what we all know was the real life of Freddie Mercury, but the movie is rated a 12A. There are bits that as a Queen fan, I don’t think were very accurate, but other parts are just as you think they should be. There are parts missing and parts that are very much sanitized, and played down. There are parts that really remind you of how challenging and difficult Freddie was to work with, but you can’t help but feel sorry for him, in the lonely and hedonistic world he lived in, and his quest to find what made him happy. The movie ends after the bands triumph at Live Aid and you don’t get to see the end of his life, when he was so desperately ill. Those last songs he wrote when we could all see something was wrong but no one was quite sure what and his battle with HIV and AIDS is not shown, and maybe that is how it should be, I think Freddie would have approved of the movie ending on a high note, and not showing his loosing battle. 

And the music? Well that made me cry. That was done incredibly well, and you really do feel you are listening along to Freddie and Queen. It was hard to resist the temptation to sing along, to familiar songs that I know and love inside out. 

I came away feeling sad though. I am not sure why. Maybe it was because it brought back memories of when Freddie died. He seemed so young, and he was young. Maybe it’s the lost talent. He was a true showman with so much talent and love for the stage and music. There could only ever be on Freddie Mercury, and the movie did capture some of him, enough to satisfy this Queen fan, at least, who cried her way through most of it…

If you haven’t seen it, go watch. Even if you go to just sing along, other people will be too, you won’t be the only one! 

The movie is on general release on 02/11/18. You can book your tickets online. 

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