It seems the critics were not impressed with this film, and for certain reasons I understand why--there are a number of historical inaccuracies and flaws in the storytelling--but audiences will still love watching it and have a great time going to the cinema to see it, because the music is great and the two hours and twenty minutes of the film is filled with songs EVERYONE knows and loves and you never once feel the film is too long.
The major issues with this film is that it is a mere shallow telling of the story of Queen and Freddie Mercury, which leaves you wondering more if your'e not a die hard fan who knows a lot and who realizes all the historical inaccuracies, too. I grew up knowing, singing, and dancing to so many of Queen's hits, but admittedly, I wasn't familiar with too much of their story, so there was a lot that was interesting to me. Some people probably wanted a grittier movie with more of the sex, booze, and drugs that were very much part of the story; but my understanding is that the remaining members of Queen were only okay with this film being made if it would be PG-13, which I personally greatly appreciate. I think they were smart to do that, too, because you open up the music and appreciation for who these rockstars were to a younger generation. Plus, it's no secret, so why is it necessary to detail all of that, unless the key message of the story was about the damaging affects of that lifestyle. It seems to me the movie is about the music, the band, and Freddie. Others may have wanted a closer look at how AIDS affected Freddie's life, but the point that was made in his final statement and is also made in the film is that he didn't want AIDS to dominate the remainder of his life and his privacy was also very important to him. I think he wanted to preserve Freddie Mercury the legend, and not be remembered as Freddie Mercury the legend who contracted AIDS.
Despite the Spark Notes version of the story this film gives, it's still a fun experience for audiences, because it's filled with music we all know and love no matter what level of fan you are. The film runs at about two hours and twenty minutes and you never once feel it runs long. I LOVE the new "A Star is Born," but even in that movie there came a time in the film when I wondered how much longer this film was going to go on.
So, here are also some interesting takeaways from the film:
STRUGGLES WITH SELF-LOVE. There's a moment in the movie when Jim Hutton, says to Freddie, "Call me when you learn to like yourself." This is a powerful statement, and if some of the film is true, then it's clear Freddie wasn't the most comfortable in his own skin. The film suggests that Freddie may have struggled with his cultural identity. I'm not sure how much of that is true. However, if any of it is to believed, then it's a very interesting and relatable issue that Freddie faced, which many people of color face when trying to thrive in Anglo dominated worlds. It's a reminder that one of the most beloved music legends was also an immigrant, even though technically he was born with a British citizenship.
QUEEN WAS A FAMILY. I loved that the band was a family and worked like one--each contributing their own brilliance and not always agreeing on everything, but always pushing for the best. While not historically accurate, in the film after Freddie realizes he was being manipulated by someone he was supposed to be able to trust and had abandoned the band for solo projects, he goes back to his Queen family and asks for their forgiveness for how he behaved and treated them. Despite its historical inaccuracy, it was a moment that captured the family dynamic of the band, which I'd like to believe was real. That's what families do--sometimes we upset each other, and if we really care about each other, we apologize and ask for forgiveness when its due.
MARY AUSTIN. Freddie's love for Mary is inspiring. I read up more on their relationship, and he valued her as his wife. He was devoted to her, looked after her, and to this day she lives in his home that he left her. The friendship and love they shared, they're support for each other, at least based on what we can see through the movie and general knowledge known about them, that is the love and respect we all hope for and strive for.
The critics can say what they want, but the film has converted my casual fandom of Queen to new level of respect and love for the whole band, and not just the anthems we all know.
Watch the film and let me know what you think!
BIG LOVE & HUGS