Bohemian Rhapsody

Rami Malek stars as Queen’s flamboyant frontman, Freddy Mercury, in Bryan Singer’s 'Bohemian Rhapsody'


Bohemian Rhapsody ★★ 

If ever a flamboyant music star begged for an R-rated biopic, Freddie Mercury would have been the one. Born in Zanzibar in 1946 as Farrokh Bulsara, the late frontman of Queen instead is the focus of a PG-13 picture that plays coy with his sexuality until he finally comes out as gay to his girlfriend, Mary Austin (Sing Street’s Lucy Boynton). Worse, Bryan Singer’s film tends to cast a negative shadow on Mercury’s homosexuality, isolating the man who proudly sang: “I want to break free!” This is a movie that treats its subject with a healthy dose of dishonesty, playing fast and loose with the facts of Mercury’s life. Perhaps that was inevitable because the picture’s screenwriter, Anthony McCarten, previously spun fanciful fiction out of the lives of both Stephen Hawking (The Theory of Everything) and Winston Churchill (Darkest Hour). As such, you should trust the moment when Mercury begs forgiveness from his bandmates about as much as you should trust the scene when Churchill decided to ride the tube and chat with the common folk in that hammy, hagiographic biography of Britain’s former prime minister. This all should’ve been expected since half of the members of Queen (Brian May and Roger Taylor) spent years personally shepherding this film through production, at one point driving Sacha Baron Cohen—who’d been set to star as Mercury—away from the picture. That departure paved the way for Mercury to be played by Mr. Robots Rami Malek, who gives a convincing performance despite battling against a needless set of false teeth. (At Assembly Row, Boston Common, Fenway, Seaport, South Bay and in the suburbs.)

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