Was Bohemian Rhapsody Movie a Joke or a Masterpiece

Freddie Mercury was, and still is, one of the best singers of all time. In addition to the worldwide fame he had, he was also a person who was constantly written about in magazines and newspapers. Everyone was always trying to peek through his private life. His death at a young age was a great loss for the world. Although he died prematurely, people never stopped being curious about him and his music. This is the reason why Bryan Singer created this Freddie Mercury biopic, aka Bohemian Rhapsody.

I had the chance to watch the movie on Imax when it first came out and it was as if Queen was giving a concert in front of me. I believe there should have been a movie about Queen made a long time ago since they are one of the most worldwide known bands. There are some documentaries made but nothing like this. In this article, I will argue whether Bohemian Rhapsody was good or bad, factual inaccuracies in the movie, and some theories about Freddie Mercury. Beware, the article contains spoilers, so if you haven't watched the movie yet, read this carefully. In addition, the content of both the movie and the article isn't appropriate for those under 16, please be aware of this. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and let's move on to the article.


Factual Accuracy of Bohemian Rhapsody movie


Freddie Mercury's Life Before He got Famous

Before Freddie got famous, he was a shy college student who was musically gifted. But Freddie wasn't an ordinary Englishman at all. Many things were going on in his life that was affecting his self-confidence and psyche. Freddie, real name Farrokh Bulsara, was a Parsee who had an Indian origin. He was born in Tanzania and attended an English boarding school, later he moved to England with his family. I'm sure many of you have heard of the racism that Indian Parsees faced in the past. It is unfortunately not a surprise that another minority group had to face discrimination. So, as an Indian Parsee in England at that time, it was almost impossible for Freddie to achieve the fame that he had achieved.

Freddie was of course aware of the racism he might face in England so he changed his name and never mentioned his nationality after he got famous unless it was necessary to. There was a reference to the fact that he changed his name at the beginning of the movie. His race and his national identity were some of the reasons it was hard for him to come to terms with his own identity and have self-confidence. This lack of self-confidence can be clearly seen at the beginning of the movie, I think this part was well-made.

Even though he wasn't famous yet, the way he spoke, his clothing, even the way he walked were all unique. Actually, these had a great influence on the shaping of his identity on the stage. In the movie, young Freddie, whose self-confidence had not settled yet, could only express himself through music. We saw this when he met with the band for the first time.


Freddie Mercury's life before he got famous or met with Queen
    

There was some truth to this because before Freddie became the lead singer of Queen, he was interested in music as he grew up. In Bombay(Mumbai) when he was living with his aunt and his grandparents, he studied piano and joined his first band, the Hectics, according to Biography. In London, he attended Ealing College of Art, joined another band called Ibex. All of these show that he had a music career long before Queen but this part of his life wasn't shown in the movie at all! I don't know the reason really, maybe they did this because it is considered to be a movie about Queen, not only Freddie Mercury.


I would like to talk about the other thing that mostly affected his psychology which was his sexual orientation. Homophobia as you all know was actually the general attitude of people of that time, it wasn't seen as a wrong thing. Bullying and threats that queer people faced were very common. Of course, Freddie had to hide the fact that he was gay in such an environment, but I'm not sure how accurately this part was shown in the movie. 

The Relationship between Freddie and Mary Austin

I'm sure you remember Mary Austin, the one Freddie wrote Love of my Life song for. In real life too, Freddie and Mary were inseparable. First of all, I want to make it clear that Freddie and Mary's relationship was real. Freddie told both her and reporters over and over again how much he loved Mary throughout his life. His love for Mary wasn't based on him being in the closet but he really loved her. Yet, he couldn't love her the way she could marry him. 

In an interview, Freddie stated the fact that for him, the relationship between him and Mary was a marriage. I think, if Mary wasn't against an open relationship, Freddie would have wanted to marry her. In the movie, many things about their relationship were in fact true.

But their love seemed to be covered up a bit after he came out to her. In real life, they remained to be friends for life. Frankly, the relationship between the two still remains to be a bit of a mystery, and there are people who think Freddie was actually bisexual. In the movie, Freddie said that he was bi while Mary said "No Freddie, you are gay." This was actually not the case in real life. When Freddie said he was bisexual, Mary didn't say anything.

There is also a theory that in the song "Bicycle Race" when Freddie says "I want to ride my bicycle" over and over again he actually meant to say bisexual instead of bicycle. I don't think it is really an important topic to argue whether he was gay or bi since we can't ever know the truth and it actually doesn't change anything. But whether he was gay or bisexual, he loved Mary for sure.


The real relationship between Freddie Mercury and Mary Austin


Freddie's Unknown Traumatic Past


Everyone has been trying to understand Freddie and his music for many years now. Bohemian Rhapsody is among the most mysterious songs in the world. But there's a question only a few people ask, what happened in Freddie's past? What was the thing that make him create this confusing and, in my opinion, sad song?

We watched the life of Freddie after he met with Queen, Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Decan, throughout the movie. We've seen their lives together and apart but the unknown part was Freddie's childhood. When Freddie left his home to become famous, he never came back. In the movie, they showed him taking his partner, Jim Hutton, to meet with his family, but this wasn't the case in real life. Queen's other band members said in an interview that Freddie had never told his family that he was gay. When he was on his deathbed, his mother came to the hospital and they had not seen each other for years before that. What was the reason for this?

His family might have been oppressive and traditional, but that doesn't sound like a reason why he wouldn't see them until he is about to die. In another interview, it is mentioned that Freddie was sexually assaulted while in boarding school. This is such a disgusting event that unfortunately happens more often than you think! You remember the scene where he introduces Mary to his family. When his mother started to show pictures of him when he was little, Freddie started to play the piano and sing loudly. It was obvious that he was trying to suppress his past. They do not put these scenes in the movies randomly, they are shot on purpose.

Later in the movie, Freddie had called Mary at night after he moved to his luxurious house and he was turning the lamp on and off so that she could see it through the window. You can see so clearly in that scene that Freddie was actually a wounded child. What a lonely and sad child he was in that big, luxurious house... There must have been some traumatic event in his past as a child that explains all of these.

He was at the top of the world but why was he so depressed? I asked myself this while watching the movie for the second time. It was as if he came to life on stage and was in a state of sleep when he was not on the stage. It was as if he was trying to silence his mind. There are always some messages that the films try to give the audience. This movie contains many messages, but this is the message that confused me the most. But they didn't give any answer to this in the movie, leaving the audience confused. There are some scenes that I would like to draw attention to:


Freddie Mercury's Unknown Traumatic Past


Before Live Aid, there was a scene where he hugged his father tightly before he left the house. This was the part when he took Jim Hutton, his partner, to introduce to his family. It was as if his heart had reconciled with his father in that scene. But the real question is why didn't he hug his mother? Freddie's relationship with his father is shown several times in the movie, but his relationship with his mother isn't described in the movie at all.

The hug scene was so emotional that it didn't occur to one to ask this question but it made me raise one eyebrow, seriously. I really don't think his mother was insignificant at all. There is a famous quote from Freddie "I'm just a musical prostitute, my dear" One can't help but think, what made Freddie, who defines his artist identity in this way, feel this way.

If we take a look at the lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody song, one can feel that turmoil in his mind is poured into the song. "Mama, I've just killed a man" or "Life had just begun but now I'm gonna throw it all away" What could Freddie have used such a harsh sentence for? Or "I don't want to die, sometimes wish I had never been born at all" Freddie didn't have AIDSHIV, when he wrote Bohemian Rhapsody, it must have been a mental death he's talking about here.

"Spare him his life from this monstrosity" is the part that everyone shouts at the same time in the song as if it is a ritual, a praying. Well, which monstrosity? Or the fact that the last lyric is "Nothing really matters" makes me ponder over it for hours.

For the movie part, they left the audience with many questions. I have to say, I like that they left us with a mystery and not answering most of the things because if they did everything right, showed every little detail, then there was no room left for us to admire Freddie Mercury and continue to think about him or create new theories. But let's discuss one more thing before we decide whether the movie was a joke or a masterpiece. 

What Really Happened with Paul Prenter


His relationship with Paul Prenter was shown a little differently in the movie. Everything in the movie was Paul's fault. Because of him, Freddie both got this terrible disease and separated from everyone he loved. In reality, things were a little different. According to Bustle, they showed Paul Prenter as the villain of the movie. Of course, there was some truth to that; for example, Freddie fired Paul much later than Live Aid. Or Paul actually outed Freddie and talked about the parties he had thrown on a magazine instead of on TV. But there is also a fact that Paul died of AIDS in the same year as Freddie, which of course somewhat supports the theory in the movie. It doesn't mean he killed him but it is most likely they contracted the disease in the same place.

Live Aid


First of all, I like the fact that the beginning of the movie is actually the end. The director's decisions, camera shots, decor, clothes and many more that I can't count are really carefully chosen for Live Aid concert. If you wonder what Live Aid is, it was a huge campaign in which the most famous musicians of the 80s joined and helped raise money to end the hunger in Ethiopia. With the technology of that period, the concerts were broadcast on all televisions at the same time in every country and a huge amount of money was able to be donated. Live Aid was the turning point and finale of this movie. But, of course, there are huge factual inaccuracies.

To make the movie more dramatic and probably more marketable, they showed that Freddie Mercury had AIDS during the concert and he was in the late stages of it but in reality, Freddie Mercury learned that he had AIDS in 1987. Live Aid happened exactly two years ago, in 1985. Therefore, there was no sign of AIDS yet when he performed at Live Aid. Actually, believing he was able to perform this well at Live Aid while he was incredibly sick would be ridiculous. But combining the movie with his untimely death and Live Aid concert, which is perhaps the most important event of his life, helped to end the movie at a very dramatic point. When I think about it only as a movie, I think it was the right decision. But when I was fact-checking, it irritated me a little.


Freddie Mercury at Live Aid concert vs Bohemian Rhapsody movie



Conclusion


Although this was a biopic, it was a movie nonetheless with a concern to be marketable. Overall, I think it was successful especially because I personally know at least 15 new fans of Queen who started to listen to their songs, learned many things about them and appreciated their talent. People all over the world had at least heard of one of their songs like We will rock you or We are the Champions before but most of them didn't know who made them. With Bohemian Rhapsody, they learned their names and slightly about the members. But of course, for the old fans, the inaccuracies were disappointing. However, you should definitely look at side by side comparison of real Live Aid and the movie Live Aid. It was amazingly accurate and made me happy, here is the link: 

I should add that I think Rami Malek's performance was brilliant. He captured the essence of Freddie's witty personality so well.

What do you think? Was Bohemian Rhapsody movie successful or a joke? I can't personally say it was a masterpiece but I would really like to know your opinion, so comment down below.


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