"Bohemian Rhapsody" Evokes Emotions

From the looks of my newsfeed the past couple of days, I would say a high percentage of the people I know found their way to a movie theater to catch Bohemian Rhapsody. For those of you who haven’t, I offer my reflections. I’ve read a few of the reviews. Most of them say this movie falls short of its goal. I am happy to report that I don’t feel that way. I think those critics might just misunderstand the intention of the movie.

I found Bohemian Rhapsody to be a celebration of the life, talents and genius of Freddy Mercury. While it may seem that the movie just hit the highlights of Mercury’s time with Queen, it felt to me like they told the most complete story they could in the course of a movie that was already over two hours long. Diving any deeper into his life would have made the movie unbearably long. Condensing nearly 30 years to fit into the time frame allotted had to be extremely difficult. Perhaps some of the choices of which details to keep and which to cut were made to appeal to the masses, but I’m leaning toward which details provided clues to Mercury’s personality and depth of character.

Quite often we saw snippets of his mindset through events of his life or his songwriting decisions. Topics like his sexuality and substance abuse were touched on respectfully, without making either a spectacle or denigrating his life choices.

The musical score was selected perfectly to match the timeline and moods of the movie. The recording of “Bohemian Rhapsody” was detailed so well, examining the frustration of Mercury’s perfectionism at the same time as giving insight about the way the many moving parts were recorded. “Love of my Life” and “Who Wants to Live Forever” both touched on times of anguish for Mercury. And the Live Aid performance was so well done. I remember watching the concert in 1985. For me, seeing it with the knowledge that Mercury knew about his AIDS diagnosis before preparing for that concert, put the entire performance in a new light. With the extensive catalog of Queen’s music to choose from, the chosen pieces fit perfectly where they were placed. Many in the audience Friday night were swept up and sang along – myself included. And the opening bars of some songs brought instant laughter or tears – and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one wiping the latter.

You need to see this movie. If you’re a musician or a music fan at all, you owe it to yourself. I'm glad I went. Friday night my dreams were scored with Queen music... and I woke up singing "Love of My Life" the next morning.