Freddie Mercury was a performer—one of the best. Queen’s widespread fame and influence is a testament to his ability to capture audiences with his powerful songs and strutting stage persona. Despite his controversial lifestyle, everyone loved Freddie—or so it seemed. The film reveals that Freddie was so consumed by his performance that very few people actually knew him deeply, something that caused Mercury a great deal of pain. During the biopic, the audience is only offered a handful of glimpses past Mercury’s performance and into his heart. These glimpses show a man in a turmoil of doubt, loneliness, and self-hatred. Just like his self-chosen name implies, these moments only last for an instant before Mercury changes back into the performer and flashes a smile. The show must go on.
Though Mercury’s gay lifestyle is a central theme, Bohemian Rhapsody implies more than it actually shows. Mercury’s sexuality is shown as a powerful influence in his life, a strong current that swept him along, often causing him pain and confusion. This part of Mercury’s life is more of a statement in the film rather than a celebration, perhaps because it was something Mercury often tried to hide.
Bohemian Rhapsody’s best moments are found in Queen’s painstakingly reenacted concerts, when Mercury was at his best. Queen’s hit songs are exuberantly performed as Rami Malek plays his role as Mercury to the hilt, oversized front teeth and all.
Due to high levels of language and drug use, Bohemian Rhapsody is not Dove-Approved.
The Dove Take
Not as edgy as expected, Bohemian Rhapsody shows glimpses of the man behind the charismatic performer Freddie Mercury.