Written by Shamira James
The first time I was exposed to Queen was in high school. I stayed after school to take a test and my high school World History teacher played “Somebody to Love” on his computer. I didn’t think much of at first other than “Oh my god! Turn this off, I’m trying to remember the Fall of Roman Empire”. Almost nine years later, if you played that song around me now, I’d give you a full on one-woman-show equipped with lead vocals, backup vocals and a capella version of all the instruments.
When I went to see the bands biopic this past weekend I went in only knowing a few things about the history of Queen – like the bare minimum. I knew Freddie Mercury died, I knew that the bad continued on with new frontman Adam Lambert and that the other two guys’ names were Brian and Roger. As much as this movie was going to be entertaining, I wanted to use it as a learning opportunity to learn about a band that not only has transcended through time to have such an iconic sound but to understand more of the man that I called an idol for being an artistic genius, a social icon and and all around inspiration.
While there had been negative buzz about producers cutting out relevant LGBTQ+ events in Mercury’s life as well as some chronological discrepancies I think there are few things that have to be remembered when it comes to dramatic biopictures.
The first thing is that it would be disrespectful to the other members; Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon to focus so much on time on Mercury’s personal life, seemingly taking it from from a movie about the band and more about Mercury. Everyone knows how Mercury passed on but the movie is about so much more than that. It’s about the power of music and the influence this band on people who felt like they were and are the other. This movie also emphasizes how no one member is bigger than the band and how they all need each other. While Rami Malek did a phenomenal job playing the flamboyant and eccentric front man, actors Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor), Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon) and Gwilym Lee (Brian May) followed suit in giving stellar performances in bringing these rock gods to life.
As far as the sequential issues go, I think that it’s important to remember that there is a dramatic integrity that Hollywood likes to have. Moving certain events up or back helps create dramatic story arc that is essential if you want to tell a good story. It gives the audience an emotional stake in the story, and it most certainly did.
The experience of seeing this movie was unlike any other cinematic experience I had. Of course seeing any movie on a big screen while you sit in a higher row in the middle gives you an experience you’ll never get at home, but this was beautiful. Obviously the scenes of dialogue were beautiful and progressed the story stupendously but cutaway concert scenes were stunning. Especially, the 10 – minute concert in the end. A true milestone the band’s career was their 1985 performance in the Live Aid Benefit Concert. The actors perfectly mirrored the original performance which i’m sure gave anyone who originally saw it live chills and the best kind of déjà vu. I felt like my lifelong dream of seeing this megalodon of a group “live” came true.
I think it would be an injustice to yourself to not see this film. A film that was so obviously and intensely cared about by the actors, producers and the remaining members of the band. I think it was so beautifully done and showcased the artistic ways of band but also the human side of a group that will continue to inspire and be there “for the misfits, the people in the back of the room who feel like they don’t belong.”