On my return to Cairns, I have watched a number of gay films, including the new one – Bohemian Rhapsody. This film is about the famous rock band Queen and especially their lead vocalist Freddie Mercury. The film is shown with great success in Australia, Russia, and in many other countries. However, I am of two minds: positive and negative. If you have not seen the movie, do not read my review any further for now, as I do not want to influence your experience. Come back to this review after you have seen the movie.
To those who watched this movie, I will explain what I mean.
Positive, because this is a story about great musicians, especially about the super-talented Freddie, who put the public on fire for many years and continues to do so, long after his death in 1991. Also positive, because the movie mentions his homosexuality and shows a couple of kisses with men. This is very important for Russia and other homophobic countries, where for many, including young people, gays are freaks, scumbags and subhumans. And in the film they see a cool, modern, attractive man who was gay, when, even in the West, it was taboo. I hope that this helps destroy the stereotype and make people think: something Putin and Trump are distorting. They, I hope, will understand that Putin and Trump are not superheroes, but older men who are trying to look and feel younger by injecting Botox, playing with hairstyles, doing plastic surgery, exhibiting themselves as macho men and pairing with much younger women, and who are lying and creating serious political, economic and social problems for many countries including their own. They are dull people, unlike Freddie, who inspired people with his sparkling talent, sincerity and charisma. Who is normal then: straight homophobic Putin and Trump or gay Freddie Mercury? I hope the film made people think this way. I wish to remind the positive: the movie mentions that Freddie was gay, and not a freak, but a normal person, moreover, a pop star.
Negative, because the film pays little attention to Freddie’s homosexuality, barely touches upon his 7-year-old relationship with Jim Hutton, while at the same time disproportionately emphasizes his relationship with Mary Austin over many years even after they broke up because of Freddie’s homosexuality. His many casual or short-lived encounters with men are not shown at all, and yet he was a polyamorous man and his intimacy with men was one of his main sources of inspiration. Moreover, one gets the impression that he picked AIDS, which in those years was practically incurable, from the air, and not during sex. However, it was a disease that interrupted his work and killed him at the age of 45! Homosexuality, including gay sex, was one of the defining features of his personality and if somebody ignores this fact, they humiliate both Freddie and all gays. And finally, in my opinion, Rami Malek is absolutely not suitable for the role of Freddie Mercury. He portrays him as a flaccid, melancholic guy, and not an incendiary musician and a man with a stormy temperament. When Rami Malek tries to portray him as a man of passion, it looks fake. I learned that initially Sacha Baron Cohen was approached for this role. But he refused to play, because his idea of Freddie and his life was very different from the proposed scenario. I agree. Pity. Sacha Baron Cohen fits not only in looks but also in temperament. I am sure that he would have shown Freddie’s explosive nature well, true to life, with all the fine points and flaws. Sacha Baron Cohen is a brilliant actor without complexes, and he would have superbly played Freddie as a gay man, without apologies or omissions. He would have shown him as a charismatic and proud gay.
I hope that a new film about Freddie Mercury will be made, but I am afraid that by that time Sacha Baron Cohen will not be able to play in it because of his age (he is 47 years now). I hope, however, that there will be another, truthful scenario, and another, truthful actor. Queen and Freddie Mercury deserve it. All gays deserve it too.