If you see it there, darling, then it’s there – Freddie Mercury.
To say that I grew up listening to Queen is a little bit of an understatement. My dad’s obsession with all things Freddie made the first song I sang We Will Rock You. Growing up, I based my A Level media coursework on the band, and now have a tattoo of their lyrics across my shoulder. Freddie certainly did have a way with words, just as all four of the musicians did, and still do. When I saw the trailer of Bohemian Rhapsody, I had a mixture of feelings: pure elation, excitement and curiosity. That first trailer did not give anything away, and I’ve come away from the film feeling utterly entranced by the life of Freddie, the life of the band and the life of the music.
I haven’t read any other review of Bohemian Rhapsody because I didn’t want anyone’s opinions to influence my own and just remember exactly what I felt during the two hours I spent watching the vibrant colours, exaggerated notes, elusive laughter, the fashion, the sass and the heartbreak that this film captured about a man who found his voice and shared it with the entire globe.
When I think of Freddie Mercury, I think of the enigmatic performer who held the entire audience in the palm of his hand, and he was exactly that person when he was on stage. He wore the most outrageous outfits and he wore them with an air of confidence that transcends the entire fashion world. It didn’t matter what he wore; everybody loved him. What I didn’t realise until this film was how lonely he was in his life. He was always surrounded by people: his family who obviously loved him, but wanted a completely different life for him; his fans and then those who took advantage of him and his love. He talks of the quiet moments, those minutes that stretch into hours, then long nights between performances and writing. He spent so much time alone in that grand old house that it became a living nightmare. It was only when he was with his bandmates that he could be his complete self, the other side of him: the man who grew up as an immigrant, as someone who never quite fitted in, instead of the flamboyant person he was very much known and loved for. He called Queen his family because they were the only people who he could truly relate to and rely on, apart from the love of his life, Mary Austin.
Bohemian Rhapsody delves into the beautiful, complicated relationship between Freddie and Mary. He referred to her as his common-law wife, and she is the only person who knows where his ashes lie. They began as lovers, becoming inseparable and then, when it was obvious to them both that he was gay, she became his best friend who he loved so dearly, it was impossible for him to truly let her go. She lived right next door and came to his concerts, even travelling to America. It was she who got through to him during his darker days that he spent high and drunk. It was she who he left the majority of his estate to when he died. They always believed in each other and the love between them is palpable on the screen. It is an unbreakable bond that anyone can relate to, no matter if it is between friends, siblings or lovers. Just watching their relationship bloom, shift and shatter at various points was incredible to watch because we forget in the moment of watching their lives unfold that Freddie and Mary are real people who have lived these very moments.
The dynamics in the band are poignant, crazy and utterly lovely. They fight with each other and together as a united front. They are family, brothers in arms, creators and musicians who all want one thing: to create music, do what they love and do it for those who are misfits like themselves. I couldn’t believe the amount of humour, quips and innuendos that wove in and out of the narrative. The laughter is infectious throughout in typical British style. The jokes they play on each other are done so in a natural way that reflects true friendship and I’m sure, Queen themselves. There are hellish moments of anger and frustration, and the worst of heartache and devastation, but ultimately they support each other no matter the consequence.
Everything about this film is a greatness. From the costume to the actors to the location, the editing and absolutely every tiny detail in between. Bohemian Rhapsody really encompasses everything that Queen means to me as well as lets us into the realm that both haunted Freddie and elated him. It is a magnificent piece of work, one that I want to relive over and over again.
Have you seen the film? What did you think? Is it everything you wanted it to be?
Love, Faye xo