All the spoilers all the time. You have been warned!
My Thoughts While Watching:
Husband and I watched this on a date night, Nov 30, 2018 (yeah, yeah – still catching up).
I cannot convey well enough how this movie amazed and affected me.
To me, there is some irony that Farrokh Bulsara would be a fan of Smile (the band he joined with Brian May and Roger Taylor) when he had been brutally teased as a child for his teeth. After the movie I read tons on Freddie Mercury and found it fascinating that I knew his music fairly well but did not know the man beyond the most well published facts. Freddie Mercury had four extra teeth in the back of his mouth. How utterly amazing that is. Because of those teeth the Sex Pistols were created. Oh, got your attention with that, didn’t I? See, he was to have his first dental appointment in 15 years on December 1, 1976. Because of that, Queen canceled their appearance on the talk show Tonight With Bill Grundy. The fill in for Queen was the Sex Pistols. That is the start of a different (punk) rock story. Here is THAT interview, if you are curious: SEX PISTOLS (NSFW)
He worked as a life model for a drawing class wearing only a towel to remain “modest”. I would love to know where the drawings of those who took the class ended up or if they were ever aware later of who it was they drew.
Mercury used female nicknames for himself and most of his friends, barring John Deacon who was considered too masculine. Freddie was ‘Melina’, Brian May ‘Maggie’, Roger Taylor ‘Liz’, Elton John ‘Sharon’ and Rod Stewart ‘Phyllis’. Meanwhile Freddie’s former girlfriend, Mary Austin, became ‘Steve’ (after Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man).
For me, personally, Queen stepped into my life full force on the soundtrack of Flash Gordon. “FLASH! Ah Ahhhhh! Savior of the Universe!” I always think of that movie as the first superhero movie in my life…
It was a real joy to watch how their creative minds worked behind the scenes on Bohemian Rhapsody. How they would strive to be different than all else out there. Rami Malek embodied Freddie Mercury. IMHO he was wholly believable in the role. He (as well as Gwilym Lee as Brian May) really LOOKED the part! The movie was watched over by Brian May and Roger Taylor who offered counsel throughout the filming. I feel that, creative takings aside, the movie is true to form for the most part because of their strong involvement.
If you love Rock and Roll or Rock History – you need to see this movie. What a joy.
Also, I have said since watching the film that Malek should win an Oscar, as should the film. If it is an indicator, they took home the Golden Globe on Sunday.
Have you seen it? What did you think? How did Queen come into your life?
Side note: upon looking up reviews of this film I realize that there are a NUMBER of critics who hated it. I am somewhat aghast.
Some Interviews and Extra Video:
Original Live Aid clip:
And, if you really want to be blown away, the side by side comparison:
Lead Actress: Lucy Boynton
Lead Actor: Rami Malek
Others of note:
Director: Brian Singer
My ranking scores –
0-19 Levels of: Ugh
20-39 Levels of: Meh (aka I cannot reach the remote)
40-59 Levels of: I don’t hate it?
60-85 Levels of: That was solid.
86-100 Levels of: I Loved It!
I rank this movie a 98.86!
Additional Movie Info:
It received a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 62% Fresh. It received a Rotten Tomato audience rating of 90% liking it. Average Rating: 4.4/5 with a number of User Ratings: 16,462. 62? Really? I plan on looking up WTF their critics are… SMFH
Specs: Release date: 2 November 2018 (USA) / Runtime: 134 minutes / Budget: $52M
- Elton John and Freddie Mercury were very good friends in real life but Elton admits himself he was seething after seeing Queen’s Live Aid set go down so well with the audience and on TV. Apparently he stormed up to Freddie after the band came off and only half jokingly said “You absolute bastard, you totally stole it. Nobody will be able to beat that” much to Freddie’s pleasure.
- The cat person Freddie is portrayed as in the film is apparently close to reality. In his biography written by Lesley-Ann Jones, friends state that he would often call home from tour asking to talk to the cats, and make sure the TV was turned on for shows broadcasted live so that the cats could watch. Delilah was reportedly his favorite, even making it to become a song on the album Innuendo.
- On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Mike Myers/Christiane Amanpour (2018), Mike Myers said that during the making of Wayne’s World (1992), he insisted that the song he and his friends listen to while driving would be “Bohemian Rhapsody”. The producers felt it wouldn’t be appropriate. Myers stood his ground, eventually threatening to quit the movie. Myers got his way, the movie became a huge hit, and the song reentered the charts, peaking at at #2 in the United States. The movie was credited for introducing Queen to a new audience. Myers also said that when he was offered a chance to appear in this movie, he accepted immediately without bothering to read the script.
- Mary Austin and Freddie Mercury were engaged at one point. They remained so close that Mercury entrusted much of his estate and his London mansion, Garden Lodge, to her in his will. His song “Love Of My Life,” was dedicated to Austin.
- The 1980s Pepsi logo emblazoned all over the Live Aid scenes is historically accurate. In 1985, Pepsi agreed to be the major sponsor of the concert. They helped cover the costs of building the stage, paid for crowd control and security, and supplied the crowds, bands, and backstage crew with facilities and refreshments. The BBC, which provided the worldwide television feed and radio coverage, had a strict policy of avoiding showing any commercial sponsorship. They agreed to turn a blind eye to the product placement due to the unique historic and humanitarian nature of the concert. Wembley Stadium was made available free of charge to Live Aid for the duration of the concert by the owners. The concert promoters and all the bands worked for free.
- The band Smile seen at the beginning of the film take their name from the fact that Roger Taylor was training to be a dentist.
- The Daily Mail reported 20 October 2018 that Chrissie Mullen, the first wife of lead guitarist Brian May, was unhappy at how she was portrayed in the movie – prompting producers to cut her out altogether. She had protested to ex-husband, Brian.
- Live Aid generated $127 million for famine relief in Africa. Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof was later knighted for his efforts by Queen Elizabeth II.
- At one point, Freddie Mercury mocks the rest of the band, saying that without him, they’d all be in mundane jobs. Particularly, he claims that former astrophysics student Brian May would be Dr. Brian May, having written a paper that no one would read. In reality, Brian May received a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College London in 2007. Also in the scene, John Deacon tells Freddie, seemingly for the first time, that he studied electrical engineering. In reality, John Deacon created the Deacy Amp that Queen used throughout their career.
- Watch out for a very brief cameo appearance from the real Roger Taylor and Brian May towards the end of the movie. They can briefly be glimpsed in two places, one is authentic 1985 archive footage from the Live Aid gig sat directly behind David Bowie and Princess Diana and the other appearance they are briefly seen disguised as two Live Aid technicians watching the concert from the scaffolding above the stage dressed not unlike Wayne and Garth from ‘Waynes World’ (1992).
- The real life Paul Prenter was paid £32,000 for his kiss and tell story, by the Sun newspaper. The story ran over several days and included titles such as “All the Queen’s Men”. After selling the story, he actually tried to ring up Freddie and claimed the press had been hounding him, but Freddie refused to speak to him. Prenter himself died of AIDS three months before Freddie did, and is referred to as Judas by some Queen fans for his actions.
- The large black-and-white portrait seen in Mercury’s mansion at the beginning and the middle of the film is of Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express (1932). In this portrait, Dietrich is looking up to a light with arms crossed and fingers spread out. This portrait was the inspiration behind the album cover for “Queen II” and the prominent 4-faces shot of the band in the Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody (1975) music video. Queen photographer Mick Rock showed Freddie Mercury the portrait of Dietrich and Mercury loved it.