Bohemian Rhapsody ★★

The problem with biopics is that, at best, they surprise with moments of cleverness, which last for seconds and aren't exactly satisfying. For example, early on in this flick we see Freddie Mercury noodling the opening riff from Bohemian Rhapsody on a harpsichord and asking, "You think it's good?" or something like that.

Yeah, Goddammit, we think it's good, it's been a top-ten single three times in 40 fucking years. No, I don't feel the existential risk of selling the tour van to pay for recording an album, because that album is by FUCKING QUEEN. Who we saw opening the movie in front of a crowd of 100,000 at Live Aid.

It's not this movie's fault that I don't like almost any musician's biopic other than Sid and Nancy, because that's not about the Pistols, it's about a societal attitude, and a crime witnessed by only one person, all of whom are are dead or otherwise admitting nothing.

For other music biopics, the entirety of the criteria upon which we judge them is: does it feel like you're watching the people they're acting like?

So yes, Rami Malek makes me feel like I'm watching Freddie Mercury. Gwilym Lee reminds me of Brian May. I guess Joseph Mozello and Ben Hardy act like Queen's rhythm section, but considering I couldn't pull Roger Taylor or John Deacon out of a lineup if they'd pulled a train on me. They might as well both be played by Pennywise The Clown.

Eventually we see that the money and the fame aren't fulfilling... But they NEVER ARE. Not for the subjects of musical biopics. There's a reason no one's lining up to lead in the Pat Boone biopic.

So we go through your standard get it all, then lose it, then get it back arc that happens with every one of these damn things.

This movie is fine. Everything is fine. But it's a story with no surprises. As all are musical biopics. It's not Bohemian Rhapsody's fault that it's a movie of a type that is flawed at it's surface.

The only really GOOD "biopic" is either Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story or This Is Spinal Tap. And that's just because they are fake, and can end in any way.

tl;dr: This is a technically executed, perfectly acted example of a movie that was doomed to be a failure the second it was greenlighted, because of what it is.