Top critical review
Fantastically Enjoyable - But An Oscar Winner?
22 February 2019
The enormous popularity of this film and the potential for it winning an Oscar is nothing to do with the actual film. Queen have rightly been lauded as one of the greatest bands of all time and no matter what age you are the fact is that when one of their songs comes on the radio or you spin up a CD it's easy to understand why. Diverse, genius and captivating.
And that's why this film is so popular. The music. Always the music.
The actual film if you took the music away would be fine but certainly nothing like the phenomena that it is. Acting is good enough but hardly Oscar worthy no matter what the headlines say.
The good is that from the off it does not hang around. It is a whirlwind of excitement and music culminating in the clearly superb Live Aid performance. Which, clearly has been chosen to leave the film in an uplifted way not the tragic end that came to pass. A clever choice because few people want to watch a film with a miserable ending.
But, that very uplifting end is the thing that irritates. For some reason the produces and of course remaining memebrs of Queen have written the story so that it was Freddy's aids diagnosis that drove him to come back to the band and do the Live Aid performance. This is of course untrue as Freddy was not diagnosed for another two years.
This takes what appears to be a generally factual film and moves it into fiction and I don't think it needed it.
The other big criticism by many is that the film ignores Freddy Mercury's gay lifestyle. In that I would have to disagree. In fact I'd say that Malek made the Freddy character more camp than he was in real life - certainly the public bit - and thus did not shy away from him being gay. Frankly, early on when Freddy was with his girlfriend I wondered if she must have been blind and dumb to not see that he wasn't heterosexual.
The high points are of course the music scenes. Which lifted the ordinary to the extra-ordinary just like the band did in real life. They were emotional and of course for many people the death of Mercury is a defining moment. It certainly was for me driving to work with the radio on to a job I hated. There I was going somewhere I despised and then the death of Freddy was announced. It's still vivid in my mind now.
Regardless, this film is despite all a fitting tribute. The music is great and overall an uplifting thing. I can see why it has been such a hit.