In October 2018, millions of devoted Queen fans from the United States and the UK rushed to nearby movie theaters to see Bohemian Rhapsody. But in some other parts of the world, fans had to wait until November, December, or even March 2019 for the movie’s release.
Bohemian Rhapsody grossed over $889 million in theater ticket sales, and another $37 million from DVD and Blu-ray sales. That’s twice the amount of A Star is Born, featuring the vocal talents of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, and nearly four times the amount of the heart-wrenching movie, Green Book.
But why is that? How did a biopic movie about a classic rock-n-roll band named Queen, and its flamboyant lead singer, Freddie Mercury generate more revenue than two award-winning movies combined?
The answer comes down to the truth of the matter.
Is Bohemian Rhapsody Based on a True Story?
Movies based on a true story; inspired by a true story; inspired by real events all have one thing in common; a notion of truth. Not impeccable truth, or a perfect timeline of events, but just enough truth to make a story believable. So, even if the screenwriters took a few extra creative liberties while writing Bohemian Rhapsody, the basic story remains true. Wild, chaotic, and painfully true, which is exactly what fans would expect from a movie about an unapologetic rockstar like Freddie Mercury.
How to Catch a Fallen Star
The band Queen has had a strong following since the mid-to-late 70’s, which is partially due to its candid and flamboyant lead singer, Freddie Mercury.
Before his death in November 1991, Freddie loved to play the piano, discuss music, and show off his four-octave, operatic singing voice. He loved being the center of attention, but he didn’t like discussing his personal life. He wanted the press to see him only as a performer, but his reckless behavior, excessive partying, and bisexual promiscuity quickly became a topic of conversation.
Unfortunately, there are no secrets in Hollywood. And most diehard music fans won’t turn a cheek to a lead singer’s self-destruction. Yes, Bohemian Rhapsody did well in theaters because rock-n-roll music has millions of devoted fans worldwide, but not even the best music or band compares to the excitement and fear people feel while watching another person’s life spiral out of control.
Was Freddie Mercury’s silence a cry for help?
Freddie experienced so much more loss and disappointment than what the movie dares to explain. He gave up the love of his life. He felt judged by many of his family members and friends for his life decisions. And worse yet, he self-medicated with drugs and alcohol, then bottled up all his emotions. But was his silence trying to tell us something?
According to the movie, Mary Austin; Freddie’s ex-girlfriend tried to intervene, but he refused. So, she just left? Certainly not, but that’s how the movie depicted their relationship.
So, what happened in between? Did he talk to Mary about his addiction? Where are all the interviews between Freddie’s family and friends? How did he feel about contracting the AIDS virus? And, how did he feel about unknowingly giving his life partner a disease?
Freddie called Mary “the love of my life”. He wrote a song for her, and according to the movie, Mary stuck beside Freddie until the bitter end. So, it’s hard to believe that he never confided in anyone.
Will fans see a remake of Bohemian Rhapsody?
American-born actor, Rami Malek played the part of Freddie Mercury in the movie Bohemian Rhapsody. Malek wore a pair of prosthetic teeth to mimic Freddie’s toothy, trademark grin, and he danced like no one had ever seen him dance before. Most fans agree that Malek gave an excellent impersonation of the late rockstar; however, some film critics think the overall movie needed more.
“The movie, despite its electrifying subject, is a conventional, middle-of-the-road, cut-and-dried, play-it-safe, rather fuddy-duddy old-school biopic, a movie that skitters through events…”Owen Gleiberman | Variety (2018)
Why are true stories important?
Most people watch reality television and biopic movies to either reflect on their own lives, or to live vicariously through one of the actor’s lives. Because true stories take some of the Hollywood out of a movie and replace it with more relatable content, characters, and events.
But even though TV and movies come from Hollywood, people still deserve to know the truth about their favorite celebrities. The whole truth, including all the good, the bad, and the ugly reality of what it takes to achieve stardom. Why? Because many future generations of kids will look to Hollywood for their own creative inspirations. And because music fans don’t like to shell out millions of dollars to see a story they already know.
Any future remakes of Bohemian Rhapsody should delve into Freddie’s mental health, addictive lifestyle, and festering emotions. That’s the story people NEED to hear. Forget complaining about the movie’s misrepresented timeline of events and start focusing on what really matters. The truth.