According to Billboard, the critics have weighed in on the new biopic about Freddie Mercury — the leader singer of iconic rock band Queen — appropriately titled Bohemian Rhapsody. The film scored “54 percent on Rotten Tomatoes,” but Rami Malek, the actor who plays Mercury, is a critic-favorite.
Many critics believe that the movie did not do the famous band justice. One critic compared the movie to that of a “really good covers [sic] band.” The film itself apparently left much to be desired in diving into intimate moments with the band. Queen is a household name, and many critics would have liked the movie to feel like more of a connection between fans and artists.
Brian Truitt of USA Today perhaps summed up that idea the most when he said, “As it turns out, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ the song is a sonic masterpiece and Bohemian Rhapsody the movie is just a conventional rock flick, one all too ordinary for a man and a band that exemplified the extraordinary.”
Rami Malek was consistently complimented for his performance, evidently having played a very convincing Freddie Mercury, but it wasn’t enough to bolster the “royally embarrassing” film.
The film apparently did appropriately focus on Mercury’s sexuality, though. The star’s AIDS diagnosis, subsequent songs following that diagnosis, and his journey that led him there are all integrated into the film. It was a concern that Mercury’s relationship with Mary Austin would have not be depicted accurately, but “it is as clear to her as it is to [viewers] that Mercury is bi, if not gay.”
However, reviewers still longed for the intimacy that biopics typically grant. Critic Johnny Oleksinski said that people wanted “behind-closed-doors insight into a deeply private, complicated, internationally beloved superstar.”
The film did suffer a hiccup, though, when director Bryan Singer was fired and replaced by Dexter Fletcher. Singer is credited with being the film’s director — even though he did not see the film all the way through. However, no critic is pointing blame at who exactly should be credited with the film’s apparent mediocrity, but the switch in directors mid-project could have created a struggle for the cast and crew.
Many critics said that there will likely be another biopic that attempts to do Freddie Mercury justice, but they hope that if that is the case, it will showcase less of his performative side and more of his inner-self — a side that the public was largely sheltered from, and therefore, is most interested in.