author: jael bartnik | multimedia editor
Carl Lender via wikimedia common
The film Bohemian Rhapsody is out and I have a thing or two to say about it.
Now, it is important to acknowledge that LGBTQ+ folks have a multitude of different lived experiences. Some things that one person experiences might not be familiar to someone else. In Hollywood, though, you don’t really see these differences represented as much. Most of the time if LGBTQ+ folks are represented in film, they are stereotypes to be laughed at or a token gay best friend whose narrative is eclipsed by straight characters getting the best lines and the happy endings.
Bohemian Rhapsody is specifically about one of the most iconic bi musicians of all time, so it would be disappointing if the film didn’t live up to the epic life that Freddie Mercury lived. I honestly think it did that and more. I’m a film student, so already my mind was blown by the recreated set that looked like the original Wembley Stadium from 1985. The performance in the film was choreographed with every detail and movement emulating a performance such that if you watch the live footage, it will give you chills. Every actor who played each band member looked exactly like members of Queen, including Rami Malek.
Yes, there has been criticism over the fact that the film is not 100 per cent historically accurate. However, to me, it didn’t feel like any of these changes were terribly detrimental to the film itself. If you want historical accuracy, there are a billion different documentaries about Queen that can give you every single tidbit of trivia you could possibly want. This film takes creative license because part of what makes Queen (and rock bands in general) so otherworldly and fantastic is that they are surrounded by lore and legend.
One of the things that resonated with me the most, though, was Freddie Mercury’s coming-out scene. When he tells Mary Austin that he is bisexual and she cuts him off and tells him he’s gay, it really hit home. Being bisexual, pansexual, or sexually fluid is still something that some people choose to ignore or erase as an identity. A lot of the time, you are labelled as “too straight to be gay” or accused of using your identity as a cover for being gay. The way I would best describe my identity (being bisexual) to people is that I just love who I love, regardless of gender. In Mercury’s case, we see relationships develop both between him and Mary Austin and between Mercury and his partner, Jim Hutton. We also see Mercury’s struggle to love and accept himself during a time period where being anything but straight was considered controversial.
But by the end of the film, the most important things we as the audience learn is that being driven and daring to be different in the face of people who want you to conform is how you should live your life. We wouldn’t have the music of Queen if the band members hadn’t taken the risks they did. And the connections we make with people in life are what’s most important. Live your life the way you want to, and always give and be kind to those you love, because you never know what you have until it’s gone. Thank you, Freddie Mercury, for what you have given to the world, and for giving me the courage to be me.