I left the theatre today feeling a sense of euphoria after seeing Bohemian Rhapsody. The life of Freddie Mercury was masterfully portrayed by Rami Malek. Malek was a perfect fit for the look and artistry of Freddie Mercury because Freddie Mercury was of Indian descent in a British setting and Malek is of Arabic and Egyptian heritage. He fully captured the essence of the exotic-looking Freddie Mercury.
The band Queen’s lead singer had just quit, and Freddie offered his services to them. He auditioned in an alley and he also let them know that he wrote his own songs. He told them,” The words just come.” They teamed up and ventured on a long journey together filled with its ups and downs.
The eccentric Freddie Mercury met a girl named Mary Austin who helped him develop his risqué style. She worked at a women’s dress shop and let him try on some women’s pants that he liked. She even added a scarf to add to his flamboyance and put a touch of make-up on his eyes.
They become confidants and lovers and he proposed to her as his career began to take off. He gave her a ring and made her promise to never take it off. But over time, it became clear that he was drawn to a gay lifestyle and he finally admitted to her that he was bisexual.
She moved on with other men but their allegiance to each other was unshakeable and no one was ever able to take Mary’s place in his heart. In real life, though he had lived with a partner for years, he left his house, large amounts of money and part of his publishing house to Mary. She still lives in his house and it is said that Mary is certainly cashing in upon the success of this film.
She went on to marry two times and he had a long line of male lovers and one partner, Jim Hutton, who stayed with him until his death in 1991. I digress. This movie showed Freddie Mercury’s climb to the top of high success and an almost tragic ruin. His lover, Paul, was not delivering his messages from Mary, his family nor his agent. He ended up firing his manager, disintegrating his band and almost drank himself to death until Mary showed up at his house She told him that he needed to go home when she saw the mess in which he was living.
He finally saw through Paul and put him out of his life. He was able to contact his agent and book a last- minute slot playing The Live Aid Concert. He asked his members to forgive him and after some tart remarks, they knew that they needed each other. They reunited, practiced and he told his band members that he had AIDS. They were tearful; but when they saw his resolve to move on, they supported him and their performance at the Live Aid Concert at Wembley Stadium in 1985 was a huge success.
He went home and made peace with his estranged father who never understood him. Freddie Mercury brought his friend Jim home to meet his family and the father finally accepted him as an openly gay man. We later see the father sitting down to watch his son perform on the television and we see tears of joy in his mother’s eyes during the telecast.
Bohemian Rhapsody was tastefully done, and the band Queen had us swaying to songs such as We Are the Champions, We Will Rock You and Another One Bites the Dust. I had not heard of Freddie Mercury nor the band called Queen, but I certainly know these songs. As a lingered to view the movie credits, I noticed that another woman remained as well. I told her that I had totally enjoyed it and she said, “This is my 12th time seeing it. I answered, “Maybe you should just buy the movie.” She responded, “I already own it!”
We laughed and parted ways and I thought of Emerson’s quote, “To be great is to be misunderstood.” Many people who have left the greatest gifts behind for us to enjoy were misfits during their lifetimes. I now understand why Bohemian Rhapsody won so many awards and nominations.
The script writers did a remarkable job by sharing this man’s genius without depressing us nor taking us through the pain of his final days. This artistic piece remained focused on Freddie Mercury’s talent, energy and natural ability to electrify his audiences and bring them to their feet!
Lynn M. March 17, 2019