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Bohemian Rhapsody: Bringing Queen and Freddie Mercury into a New Generation

Generation Z knows Bohemian Rhapsody, but do we know the man behind it?

Gianna Jirak, Theater Critic

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If there’s one thing Generation Z knows, it’s all the harmonious and seemingly meaningless lyrics to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It seems that our generation is obsessed with the music of the seventies and eighties, so naturally, I was dying to see Bohemian Rhapsody. I knew and loved the song, and what would be better than a movie dedicated to the man who created it?

I went in not knowing much about Queen’s discography. I knew the classics of course- We Will Rock You and Another One Bites the Dust– but I knew nothing of the band’s history, nor much about their legendary frontman Farrokh Bulsara (aka Freddie Mercury).

The movie starts out with Freddie on his way to perform at Live Aid, and the film documents his life from his beginnings in music till that very concert. My first initial surprise was to learn that Freddie Mercury was Parsi, not white. This is a common assumption, most likely due to the fact that we usually presume that those with lighter skin tones are white. The fact that Rami Malek, an Egyptian actor, played Mercury made it even better; they didn’t whitewash the frontman at all.

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Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury.

Another surprise was in the singer’s relationship with Mary Austin, which is documented early on in the film. Their engagement was broken off due to Mercury’s cheating and sexual orientation.

The movie doesn’t heavily touch on Freddie’s death from AIDS-related causes.  They don’t make his death and decline into a horror story.  The movie’s focus remains on his legacy.

When I’m dead, I want to be remembered as a musician of some worth and substance.”

— Freddie Mercury

Near the end of the movie, Mercury sings We Are the Champions, a very emotional experience. As you watched him sing, you simultaneously watched his inner turmoil, the people that brought him down and the mistakes he made, but in the end, he sings this beautiful song about how he’s persevered and won’t fall down again.

Rami Malek absolutely conquered the role. He had the look, the performance; he just embodied his character. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a nominee in this year’s Oscars, or even if he won. I have to say seeing this movie was an amazing experience. The film uncovered Freddie Mercury’s identity and definitely makes him an icon that many members of Generation Z’s diverse population will resonate with. The movie brought my attention to their lesser-known songs like Killer Queen and Don’t Stop Me Now, and are now some of my favorites due to the film.

Freddie Mercury and Queen’s music are going to be two things this generation looks up to, and we have Bohemian Rhapsody to thank for that.

 

 

 

About the Writer
Gianna Jirak, Theater Critic and Staff Writer

This is Gianna Jirak's first year working on the The Watchdog staff.  In addition to her Watchdog responsibilities, Gianna is the president of the Drama...

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Bohemian Rhapsody: Bringing Queen and Freddie Mercury into a New Generation