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Published On: Wed, Nov 14th, 2018

Fans are on board with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in spite of critics’ reviews

The dramatic divide between critics and audiences is a hot topic in Hollywood right now and Bohemian Rhapsody, the long-awaited Freddie Mercury biopic, is the latest polarizing example.

Opening at a strong $50 million, Bohemian Rhapsody is the biggest musical biopic in domestic grosses and worldwide it made an impressive $225 million. Critics, however, don’t seem to share the enthusiasm for the movie, which they dubbed as a dramatization of a Wikipedia entry and gave only a 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Meanwhile, the audience score is 93%, as Queen fans are still flocking in cinemas to rewatch the movie about their all-time hero.

In spite of what top critics have to say, Bohemian Rhapsody is shaping up to be a fan favorite – not unlike the song itself, which critics called pretentious when it came out. Here’s what the fans loved most about the biopic and why you should watch this movie too, Queen fan or not:

Rami Malek shines as Freddie Mercury

If there’s one thing that not even critics disputed, it’s that Rami Malek absolutely shined in his role as lead singer Freddie Mercury. Although he was neither a singer nor a dancer, Malek, previously known for his role in Mr. Robot, underwent a stunning transformation that could make him a contender for next year’s Academy Awards. Malek studied Mercury’s gestures and mannerisms and successfully brought his love of music on the screen, which earned him the praise of Queen band members and Freddie Mercury’s sister. Playing the incomparable Freddie Mercury is no easy job, but Malek managed to portray his energy and flamboyance. Capturing both the lead singer’s shy and reserved demeanor off-stage and the way he transformed when writing and performing on stage, Malek not only delivered, but also raised Freddie Mercury’s iconic image to new heights.

Bohemian Rhapsody gave us some background on the band’s early days

Condensing almost two decades of musical activity into a 2-hour movie inevitably leads to some inaccuracies, but Bohemian Rhapsody did manage to tell the early story of Queen and offer some insight to audiences who weren’t necessarily fans of the band: the band was initially called Smile and was formed by guitarist Brian May; Freddie Mercury replaced lead singer Tim Staffell after the latter wanted to pursue a different direction; most Queen band members were accidental rock stars and had majored in fields that had nothing to do with music; Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar, was of Parsi descent worked at Heathrow airport before being in the band. The movie also did a great job at depicting the sibling-like relationship between Queen band members, although in reality they never did split up.

The soundtrack sticks with you long after you’ve left the cinema

You can’t have a fantastic Mercury biopic without the music and here Bohemian Rhapsody truly delivers. From the scene where the band records Bohemian Rhapsody to how Freddie wrote Love of my life and, of course, the electrifying Live Aid performance, the soundtrack is as authentic as it could be and adds even more emotional depth to some already legendary songs. Not only will the soundtrack have you humming in cinemas, but sticks with you after and reignites your passion for Queen classics. Don’t be surprised if once you get home you’ll want to take your headphones from the headphone stand and blast We Will Rock you at full volume – the soundtrack is truly contagious and will send shivers down your spine, even if you’re not a Queen fan.

The movie hints at Freddie Mercury’s troubled personal life without letting it overshadow his music career

One of the reasons for which Bohemian Rhapsody came under fire was because it failed to include more details about Freddie Mercury’s tormented love life and lifestyle. However, it was not the purpose of this movie to be a drama pic about the lead singer’s personal life, but an homage to Freddie the entertainer. As band members Brian May and Roger Taylor explained, audiences should remember Freddie Mercury as they do: a kind, generous person who loved music more than anything and who transformed when he was on stage. The movie focuses more on music and the story of the band rather than Mercury’s personal struggles, but that’s not to say they weren’t included. On the contrary, the singer’s sexual orientation, battle with AIDS and platonic love with Mary Austin are depicted with subtlety, without letting them overshadow is on-stage performance. This is in fact close to Mercury’s attitude in his final days: consumed by complications of the AIDS virus and at times struggling to stand, he made every effort to dedicate himself to the fans and didn’t let anything affect his artistic expression.

In spite of critics’ lukewarm response, Bohemian Rhapsody is a charming and emotional biopic that moviegoers, fans of Queen or not, appreciated and enjoyed. The voice of “the outcasts in the back” seems to be stronger than the one of critics and, as box office figures show it, there’s no stopping this movie from becoming a rock n’ roll classic.

Author: Cynthia Madison

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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