By Dianne White Crawford
For The Signal
Bohemian Rhapsody (Released)
Cinema has many bio pics about people from all walks of life: famous, infamous and some even legendary. Their subjects pull us into the theater to learn more about them and we hope that their story will be as entertaining as it is enlightening. The newest biography to hit screens is about the band Queen and their lead singer Freddie Mercury.
The film shows us the band’s early years as they formed when guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor lost their lead singer/bassist and was approached by a young singer named Farrokh Bulsara.
He took the nickname Freddie and would change his last name to Mercury. After recruiting bassist John Deacon, the foursome would call their group Queen and become one of the most innovative and creative bands in rock history.
In his early days he is involved with a woman named Mary Austin, a woman he loves dearly but his true sexual preferences would take over as he is touring.
Mercury would secretly have sex with men until he was confronted by Austin who breaks up with Mercury but remains close friends with him.
Like many groups, Queen had their ups and downs. The film highlights some of these moments culminating with their greatest performance, a performance that many consider the greatest in music history.
For fans of the band this is a must see, you’ll probably recognize that the film does take some liberties with Mercury and Queen’s story but it is able to keep the story moving and entertaining in a cohesive order.
At the forefront is Rami Malek’s performance which is impressive. He delivers Mercury’s presence in the film’s many stage performances as well as his personal mannerisms we have seen in interviews.
Many of the critics have commented on the lack of Mercury’s gay lifestyle, instead it shines more on his relationship with Austin. I think the balance was justified because she was truly his best friend and love of his life.
There are many scenes of him with men. It does share a glimpse of his relationship with Jim Hutton, who was his partner the final years of his life.
What the film does deliver, and deliver well, was the reception they got from the Live Aid crowd.
Although it doesn’t recreate the entire 20-minute set, it certainly hits the highlights from their opening “Bohemian Rhapsody” in which they had 72,000 people clapping in unison with the song or swaying together during “We Are the Champions.”
It’s truly one of the most emotional moments of the film and easy to see why it is called one of the most important moments in music history.
The film is not perfect and it’s not the best of the year but thanks to Malek’s strong performance and its interesting story about how true genius works, this is a a film well worth seeing.
It’s a celebration of a great band and if you’re not a big fan of theirs you might come out of the theater as one thanks to the music and the great ending.
The Hate U Give
I cannot understand why this film has gone so under the radar, because it really is a fantastic movie. It is delivered with intense passion that touches on a whole range of gritty and topical issues in an incredibly hard-hitting fashion.
It also features a beautifully heartwarming emotional core, as well as a stunning central performance from Amandla Stenberg.
This film provides a fascinating and exceptionally intense experience that grows and grows to a boiling point over its long, but thoroughly engrossing runtime.
If you’re thinking about letting younger children see this film because it is rated PG 13, I would advise you to watch the film beforehand. It is intended, however, to get an important message out to younger people as it is based on a young adult novel. It is a rather special case where the intensity of its subject matter really does feel a little too much for its proclaimed target audience.
With that said, however, the fact that the film is so hard-hitting and so intense throughout is what makes it such an incredible film. It takes on a whole range of complex and very sensitive topics with passion and frankness.
You may think that you know the story. With reports on the news of black people being shot dead by police officers mistakenly thinking they were armed. It’s a topic that’s very much in our current consciousness.
What this film does is go deeper than that simple headline. It really gets into the factors surrounding why this sort of thing keeps happening, what can be done to stop it, and the unfortunate and almost always unreported consequences that reach much further into communities than just the immediate family of the deceased.
The film is deliberately inflammatory with its gritty intensity throughout, grabbing you right by the throat and demonstrating the injustices and frustrations that many people suffer, with the use of some pretty heavy violence, dark political themes, and a strong sense of passion and frustration in its delivery.
However, while it may seem that it’s all a dark and hard-hitting drama, there is another side to this movie that makes it even more important that we see it and talk about it.
With the backdrop of a community in total disarray, with threats and oppression coming from all angles, there is a beautifully heartwarming core, centering on the Carter family, and how they navigate their way through a period of immense difficulty.
At the center of that family is Starr, played brilliantly by Stenberg. While all the performances are excellent across the board, Stenberg really shines in an incredibly mature and deep performance.
Once you come to realize that this isn’t just a young adult story, but one that speaks volumes about far wider-reaching issues for all of us.