Bohemian Rhapsody Parent Guide
This film might not rock you, but it will certainly scratch that itch to hear Queen's classic tracks at theater volume.
Parent Movie Review
Working as a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport, Farouk Bulsara (Rami Malek) has no idea what the future has in store. But then he meets Brian May (Gwilym Lee), Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), and John Deacon (Joseph Mazello) and the four combine their talents to form the glam rock band Queen. Bohemian Rhapsody tells the story of the band, but primarily of Bulsara, who changes his name to Freddie Mercury and takes the stage as their lead singer. The film highlights the band’s musical genius and inventiveness, treating the audience to Queen’s greatest hits, including their entire “Live Aid” set.
Because this is a rock and roll story, we know it isn’t going to be smooth sailing, despite the band’s on-stage success. Sure enough, the film zeroes in on Mercury’s complicated love life, beginning with his relationship with Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton), and the struggles he faces in confronting his bisexuality.
Given its potentially lurid material, Bohemian Rhapsody is remarkably restrained in terms of potentially objectionable content. While Queen never had the “sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll” reputation of The Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin, the band certainly had its share of excitement. The film alludes to this but manages to avoid any explicit material. The closest thing we see to sexual content is the (surely uncomfortable) tightness of some of Freddie Mercury’s outfits. Characters are only shown drinking socially, and never to excess. It is implied that Mercury is using cocaine, and some is shown (but not used). The drug use is not glamorized but is used to demonstrate Mercury’s downward spiral.
Bohemian Rhapsody might be a paint-by-the-numbers rock biopic, but it isn’t irritating or smug. The flick really does come across as quite earnest and well intentioned, even if the story is a little predictable. The show’s real weakness, from my perspective, is its intense focus on Freddie Mercury to the exclusion of the other band members. Since it claims to be a movie about Queen as a whole, the focus on the lead singer means that, despite good performances, we don’t get a very clear picture of the other musicians.
That being said, the production isn’t lacking in positive attributes. The casting is eerily good, with almost the entire cast being dead ringers for their real-life counterparts. I had to do a double take on the actor playing Bob Geldof (Dermot Murphy) and Gwilym Lee is almost indistinguishable from real footage of Brian May. The other major plus for this film is the dialogue. Although this varies from character to character, by and large it’s funny and snappy, without being snippy or smarmy. At the end of the day, the film may not rock you: it will, however, scratch that itch to hear classic Queen tracks at theatre volume, and if you watch it without your glasses on, you might be fooled into thinking you’re watching old taped performances. Freddie may have died 27 years ago this month, but the show must go on! You might as well give it a look.Directed by Bryan Singer. Starring Rami Malek, Joseph Mazzello, and Mike Myers. Running time: 134 minutes. Theatrical release November 2, 2018. Updated February 12, 2019
Watch the trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody
Rating & Content Info
Why is Bohemian Rhapsody rated PG-13? Bohemian Rhapsody is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for thematic elements, suggestive material, drug content and language
Sexual Content: There is implied sex between an unmarried couple, as well as implied sex between a character and a strange man, although nothing explicit is shown or referenced in either instance. Brief scenes of men dressed in revealing leather outfits are shown during a song.
Profanity: Eleven uses of moderate profanity and one sexual expletive. Frequent terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters are shown drinking socially, but not to the point of serious intoxication. There are scenes involving a character clearly under the influence of drugs, but he is not shown taking them, and they are never named. In a party, the camera pans over a table with what appears to be a small amount of cocaine on it.
Page last updated February 12, 2019
Bohemian Rhapsody Parents' Guide
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