The recently released trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody may have been shot in real life, but fans speculate that the film may end up being a fantasy of a biopic. The film is set to follow the lives of Queen band members, specifically focusing on lead singer Freddie Mercury, leading up to their performance at Live Aid. If you haven’t watched the trailer yet, you can do so below and you can read up on the plot summary here. Be sure to take note of what’s not present in both.
The points that have most notably come under fire are the distinct failure to mention Mercury’s bisexuality and struggle with AIDS. Bryan Fuller (American Gods, Hannibal) did not shy away from making it clear that he was displeased when he tweeted out, “Anyone else mildly annoyed that the Bohemian Rhapsody trailer features gay/bi superstar Freddie Mercury flirting with and twirling with a woman but no indication of his love of men?”
And while there is a moment of seeming homoeroticism in the trailer, it’s so fleeting that it’s difficult to miss. We can only hope that the full-length feature will be more explicit about Mercury’s relationships with men as well as women. As far as the presentation of Mercury succumbing to AIDS, IMDb states that the Mercury is “facing a life-threatening illness” throughout the film. While it is comforting to know that Mercury’s illness was not forgotten entirely, it is concerning that there was no mention of the illness he suffered from. Again, only watching the full-length film will confirm or deny the importance placed on this issue. But looking at this trailer, it seems doubtful that the writing will hone in on those aspects of the lead singer’s career.
This could be, at least in part, the reason that Sacha Baron Cohen left his role as Freddie Mercury part-way through production. It’s rumored that Cohen ditched the role because of creative differences; the filmmakers supposedly wanted to put more emphasis on the Queen that survived rather than the life of the band’s most prominent figure. Whether or not this is true, Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) stepped up to the plate and took on the role with ease. Malek’s performance appears to be as natural and fluid as Mercury’s own sexuality from what we can see in the trailer so far.
Despite it’s insanely long production time and the high-anticipating surrounding it, there’s a good chance that this film will rank as very okay. There is no doubt it will be an entertaining watch, but we won’t hold our breath about being blown away by it.
Bohemian Rhapsody hits theaters on Nov. 2, 2018.