FOOD/DRINK BEFORE SCREENING: popcorn, Milk Duds and Cherry Coke
EXPECTATION OF MOVIE: high
In an effort to make my review transparent, I’ll start with where my head was when I watched Bohemian Rhapsody.
The screening immediately followed a long work day so I didn't have time to stop for dinner - and that's my excuse for eating popcorn, Milk Duds and Cherry Coke.
I was in a good mood because I'd really been looking forward to this movie, and I admittedly had high expectations.
Unfortunately, they may have been too high.
But let me start with some praise.
The film is incredibly well-cast. The actors look like the band members, they move like the band members - and Rami Malek is particularly extraordinary as Freddie Mercury.
It's a heavy-lift to play an iconic real person but Malek steps into his shoes in a seemingly effortless way. The Oscar talk surrounding his performance has merit.
The cast and filmmakers also did an excellent job of re-creating performances - especially the emotional catharsis of the film, which happens at the Live Aid concert. I remember watching it on TV in 1985 (and I re-watched it on YouTube after seeing the film.) The smallest details are accounted for, including the Pepsi cups on top of Mercury’s piano. Very impressive.
But that's kind of where the strengths of this movie end for me.
For a rock and roll biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody is surprisingly tame and safe and sanitized. It does nothing to challenge your sensibilities.
The humor is almost slapstick at times. And while there are plenty of cute vignettes explaining Mercury's signature microphone strut and how the band came up with the hooks for their anthems, "cute" felt discordant with Queen.
The movie is rated PG-13 but sometimes presents as straight-up PG - and for a band with so much history and edge and outrageousness, it seems like a big missed opportunity.
For me, the most powerful thing about the film is the original music. I left humming Queen's tunes but can't say I learned or felt anything new about the band or Freddie Mercury.
So, my honest review of Bohemian Rhapsody? Underwhelming.
Maybe my high expectations skewed my perception, but I left feeling disappointed.
Is it entertaining? Sure. But for me, Bohemian Rhapsody was disappointingly one-note.
WHAT IS “HONEST REVIEW”?
I’m a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. I interview actors and filmmakers. I’ve worked in broadcast television for 20 years.
I’m also a Seattle wife and mom who works full-time and sits in an hour of traffic (minimum) every day.
Sometimes I’m tired when I screen a movie. Sometimes I’m traveling and I miss my kids. Sometimes I’ve had a glass wine when I should have had a glass of water.
All of these things can impact my reaction to a film. Because I’m human.
So in an effort to write an Honest Review, I’ll always list the external factors that might affect my enjoyment of the movie. Then, I’ll give you my review. Then, you can decide if it’s useful or not.
What do you think of Honest Review or Bohemian Rhapsody? Let me know at @kimholcomb.