By Allen Baltazar ('22)
“IS THIS THE REAL LIFE? IS THIS JUST FANTASY?” A four-person choir sings in harmony as a melodic piano ensues, the air filled with the sound of music and beauty. With progression of the song comes the surprise of a five-way change in tone and mood. Melodic pianos and roaring electric guitars sing behind one legendary voice, resonating with effortlessness. This unforgettable six-minute experience, widely regarded as one of the greatest songs of all time, is called “Bohemian Rhapsody”. It is also the title of Queen’s recent biopic movie.
The song itself encompassed who Freddie Mercury and his band were.
However, did the movie do the same? The movie has received praise for being able to portray the inspiring, heart-wrenching story of Queen and Freddie Mercury’s life. Yet, according to movieweb.com, “Bohemian Rhapsody has numerous historical inaccuracies that have been criticized for misrepresenting the legacy of Freddie Mercury.”
Some of these discrepancies are easily noticeable. Whether it comes to character’s physical features or the sequence of events in the movie compared to history, the film has its own set of errors that have upset many Queen fans.
The movie directors made many errors; however, some were intentional . For example, the invention of characters such as Ray Foster. He was placed into the movie for a more dramatic, comedic storyline that would capture the less informed audience. The subplot that Queen split up was also fabricated. In reality, the band never split up and stayed together through thick and thin.
Another example is Freddie Mercury’s eye color. Played by Rami Malek, the Freddie seen in this movie is almost identical to the real Freddie. However, upon seeing the film, it can be seen that Freddie’s eye color is blue instead of brown. This may seem like a small detail, however, it is still a discrepancy in the fine details of what Freddie Mercury actually looked like.
Additionally (and comedically), Freddie’s famed mustache would disappear and reappear sporadically throughout scenes. The time periods in the movie compared to reality when he had the mustache were also incorrect.
Longtime fan Mrs. Kemelyn Umih, who was at the Live Aid concert, where Queen performed in 1985, watched the movie and realized a tremendous error.
According to her, “Nobody was aware that Freddie Mercury had AIDS at the time of Live Aid. But in the movie, it’s portrayed that we knew of Mercury’s illness years before, and at the time of the concert. In real life, we the audience only knew that he had AIDS a day before he died.”
Many other errors include the release dates of certain songs, like ‘We Will Rock You.’
Despite this, the film generally does a great job at giving the audience a snapshot of the major aspects of Queen’s history. It is able to infuse emotion into the audience and grant them a greater appreciation for the music of the past.
The filmmakers used their creativity in both positive and negative ways. In the making of a film, especially a biopic, it’s easy to get “caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.”