Bohemian Rhapsody

2486dd1489746b1b1859205e6e943a08Behind the stage, Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), the lead singer and legendary rock star of the band, “Queen” nervously prepares himself for their on-stage performance at the historic Live Aid Concert in 1985. He had not performed with his iconic band for a while and has great hopes for a come- back.

The band members, Freddie (lead vocals and piano), Brian May, lead guitar and vocals, (Gwilym Lee), Roger Taylor, drums and vocals, (Ben Hardy), and John Deacon, bassist, (Jack Roth) hit the stage to an audience of 72,000 people at Wembley Stadium and a TV audience of 1.9 billion in one of their most renowned charity concert performances. Freddie’s voice, persona and the band’s music electrify the crowd once again. Especially, when he let out a powerful, sustained note during the a cappella section which came to be known “The Note Heard Round the World”. The entire stadium claps, sings and sways in unison to every single song that the band plays.  This is the first time they had played together live since 1982.

Freddie suddenly looms into a flash back to 1970, where he lived in humble beginnings.  He once was a baggage handler at London’s Heathrow Airport and living with his parents, Jer (Meneka Das), Bomi (Ace Bhatti) and sister, Kashmira (Priya Blackburn) in the outskirts of London. His birth name was Farrokh Bulsara and in his 20’s, he was still depending on his parents. His father reminds him that they were once immigrants from Zanzibar, and eventually came to England to obtain a better life.  He also reminds him that he helped his education in his earlier years by sending him to a private English school in India. Then his father reminds him that he helped him to attend Ealing College and majored in Art. But Freddie is also burying the thoughts of often being ridiculed for his protruding front teeth and ethnicity. Freddie wants to be a rock star and did not want to be called Farrokh. He announces that he changed his birth name, legally to his stage name. This did not meet his father’s approval on many accounts.

Jer disapproves of his lifestyle and tells him, that he should be content with what he has, but Freddie tells his father that he wants more out of life.  Leaving his family at the dinner table, he jostles off and attends a club where his favorite band “Smile” is performing.  It is on that night that he finds out that the band’s front man was leaving for better opportunities.  Looking for the band before they head out, he meets Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) and compliments her on the scarf she is wearing, while finding out where she works.  You can feel the immediate major attraction they have for one another.

Freddie then finds Brian and Roger and compliments them on their stage performance. Thrilled to get a chance to join their band, he offers to be their new lead singer.  They are not convinced that he is “the one” judging by his looks – and they doubt that he has the ability to be the front lead singer.  Much to their dismay, Freddie bolts out superb harmonic notes and a tune that could be heard so harmoniously – that Freddie looks to the heavens and then at them – and it is here we can say, the rest is history – but not yet.

Freddie meets up with Brian, Roger and their new bassist, John Deacon, or “Deaky” (Joseph Mazzello) for their first gig.  Initially, Freddie is mocked on stage, but he shows off his exuberant talent and their band becomes very popular with college students and new fans.  Within a year, they start getting steady gigs across England.   In between, Freddie falls hard for Mary and he proposes to her in 1975.  She accepts and they are very much in love.  But they never marry, because Freddie knows that he is surrounded by darker influences.

In a turn of events and on the way to one of their gigs, the band’s van breaks down and rather than getting it fixed, Freddie states that they should sell it and with the money, make a demo to get their music out to the mainstream – AND in addition, that they should change the band’s name to “Queen”.  Everyone agrees!

Happy and having made the demo, Freddie, the band members, Mary, and his family are all having lunch at Freddie’s home when the phone rings and Freddie answers.  He then hangs up announcing to the guys that a music manager, John Reid (Aiden Gillen), who works with Elton John, has listened to their demo and wants to manage their band, “Queen”. The band meets with Reid, who then introduces them to Paul Prenter (Allen Leech), another manager.  Reid books the band on a BBC show to perform “Killer Queen” and the exposure that they so desperately need – finally happens.

Their new band manager, Reid, next books a band tour in America and they are ecstatic to find out that they have a sold-out concert tour.   Next, they hire a lawyer, Jim Beach (Tom Hollander), or “Miami” as Freddie like to call him and their songs become major hits. Their popularity rose to a new level of stardom – and worldwide.

From that time forward there are good times and not so good times. Freddie discovers many things about himself and he is not ready to reveal all of his dark secrets.  Their album, “A Night at the Opera” is a hit, and features the hit song, “Bohemian Rhapsody”.   It was at first, not enthusiastically accepted by big wigs, since it was 6 minutes long and a very different type of pop music, but eventually played and loved throughout the world.  It is an operatic mix of rock and artistic expression.

This is a true story based on the epic band, Queen, but mostly about the life of the iconic, lead singer, Freddie Mercury.  It is about how Freddie Mercury evolved, pushed boundaries and how he suffered in his tempestuous journey in love and to become a world-famous artist.  Rami Malek plays Freddie Mercury brilliantly.  There are some funny moments and the music is very nostalgic of the 1970’s – 1980’s.

Freddie Mercury hid his disease of AIDS from many in the 1980’s because it was associated with hard-core harsh criticism.  Freddie eventually found his place in this society and embraced the people who meant so much to him.  He accomplished and became a world-famous singer-entertainer.  The band, Queen continues on with a legacy which still inspires many music lovers to this day. Jim Beach and the surviving members of Queen joined to create the Mercury Phoenix Trust to help fight AIDS worldwide.

Queen’s music still plays in stadiums and around the world today.  Songs like, “We Are The Champions”, “Another One Bites the Dust”, “Hammer to Fall”, “Lady Ga-ga” and “We Will Rock You” are just to name a few.  Rami Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury tugs at your heart – and notably, a few tears or more were shed by many in the theatre where I attended  – including me – I had to keep my Kleenex tissues handy.

Release Date: November 2, 2018

Directors: Bryan Singer & Dexter Fletcher

Stars: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee – Brian May, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello

Genre: Drama

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Run time: 134 minutes

Official Websites: www.BohemianRhapsody.com

keely

Keely Smith-Wallace| Writing Contributor
B.A | Communications | University of Pittsburgh
Keely Smith-Wallace loves to write, is an avid adventurer and adores compelling stories.  After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a Degree in Communications she landed a job with British Airways and traveled the world.  People, places, movies, music, theatre and travel perpetuates her passion to seek out stimulating stories in the world of entertainment and interesting lifestyles.   Look for her insightful reviews to find out what’s new, what’s hot and where you may like to trot – for an awesome experience! Instagram: @ScribeKeelySWView My Blogs 

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