“Bohemian Rhapsody,” a Hollywood 20th Century Fox production, was made with a medium budget of $51 million. It was released on Nov. 2. As of Nov. 11, it has grossed $311.2 million internationally. “Bohemian Rhapsody” was a box office smash. However, it was not seen favorably by the critics. The authenticity of its plot was greatly and repeatedly questioned. Biographical films always encounter this obstacle. It is hard to define to what extent literary license can oblige the creator to change the facts.
The authenticity of a biographical film depends largely on the goal of the biographical film in question. “Bohemian Rhapsody” was aiming to satisfy the voyeuristic need of the audience by giving them a glimpse into a legendary celebrity’s life.
The film, more than feeding the viewers with a detailed, truthful and apathetic report of the events of Freddie Mercury’s life, concentrated on defining and depicting the celebrity’s personality. At that, it masterfully succeeded. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is authentic; it truthfully, thoroughly and beautifully projects on screen, for the pleasure of the audience’s eyes, a portrait of the legendary character of Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek).
The audience has the chance to take a literal musical ride into the mind of this mysterious figure. The viewers have a chance to learn his values, his attitude towards life, music, art, family, love and friends.
A troubled human, like all of us, was poured on screen. His relationship with his family, with his friends, his lovers and all the drama that any human life is deeply affected by was boundlessy presented to the audience.
The film masterfully depicted the life of this incredible artist. His emotions and the ones of his loved ones are painted on screen with detail and extreme care.
All of this, that appears on screen, is sometimes depicted as quiet, subtle and shy, other times as extravagant, excessive, fiery and wild. Every element of the film is a form of characterization: The ultimate goal is to present Freddie Mercury. It is often mistakenly said and assumed that what you do is who you are. What you believe, what you feel, is who you really are. A biographical film must show who its main character is. What he believes, what he feels, is what should be on screen. The facts count, but not solely and not entirely.
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” directed by Bryan Singer (“The Usual Suspects” and “X-Men”) should be praised for its honest, soulful, incredibly introspective portrayal of the fabled lead singer of Queen. With only a 62 percent approval rating based on 305 reviews on the site aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was greatly misjudged by the critics. The public saw it for what it truly is. The box office gross can easily testify. In the endless ferocious battle between the public and the critics, the public just won a match.
Jacqueline Pantano can be contacted at