Why Bohemian Rhapsody Changed the Facts



Next up in our special Oscars collaboration with Entertainment Weekly: Bohemian Rhapsody. The Queen biopic changed a lot of facts about Freddie Mercury – but why? Watch to find out the deeper message in the fiction. Support The Take on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/thetake

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49 thoughts on “Why Bohemian Rhapsody Changed the Facts

  1. The Take by ScreenPrism February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Our Oscars series continues!
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  2. Feer MartSant February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I hope Rami wins the Oscar for best actor. But I definitely don't think the movie deserves to win for best movie.

  3. Feer MartSant February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    You can disagree with me but the film was too pg-13 for my taste. I didn't know the remaining band mates had to give the okay to the script in exchange for the song rights but that explains a lot. I agree with the critics saying the film felt too 'sanitized'. What I didn't understand was why it focused so much in Freddie's and Mary's relationship. To establish he was actually bi? I get that she was important to him. But we barely got to know about Jim. Wasn't he important enough in Freddie's life? Their relationship felt so rushed at the end that when Jim is watching Freddie perform along with Mary, I felt nothing. Why would they erase Jim and Freddie's relationship like that.

  4. Valeria Katalnikova February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I just can't see Freddie Mercury in this actor at all. I haven't watched the movie, but the scenes from the trailers and from here are enough for me to grasp the spirit. I don't believe the characters at all. Even when I tell myself "ok, let's assume that this is that; ok, just feel what I should feel here" (I do that when the film is poorly done, as I understand afterwords). 

    I love what you said that it's a shame it wasn't a wild boundary-pushing film. And I'd love to see "outrageous" homosexuality and naked scenes, it would be truly in the spirit of Mercury.

  5. chapyboy98 February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    The fact that this is an Oscar nominated movie show how stale 2018 was in terms of films.

  6. Aram Isaac February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    This movie was just bad… it is flatout laughable that it got a best picture nomination.

  7. riskzerobeatz February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    It's a good movie 😀

  8. scottishdumbass February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I Don’t think there’s any resentment towards Freddie. Anyone paying attention to the film will see that Paul prenter is the villain. The devil on Freddie’s shoulder influencing him. It’s no secret how much the other members of queen hated Paul. It was Paul’s influence that makes Freddie decide to go solo in the film when he initially dismisses the idea. That’s why I think they had it as a plot point in the film, to take a couple more jabs at Paul

  9. Carl Lewis February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Crap film ruined by band mates, never like Brian may always seemed like a tw*t. Disrespectful to Mercury. Would they have made it if he was alive.

  10. jane doe February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    The movie was…. okay very superficial. A gay rock star from Pakistan with a massive overbite, and that's all they gave us. Idk why it's nominated for an Oscar. While I was watching this movie, I was thinking about Walk Hard the Dewey Cox story the whole time.

  11. John K February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Love MUBI, I'm such a fan

  12. Chelsea Shurmantine February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Yeah that movie was weird

  13. Juan Carlos Ojano February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    So many missed opportunities in this story. Thank you for articulating these points so well.

  14. Arya Pourtabatabaie February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    The Brian May guy was on point tho.

  15. IckyVickyy96 February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    This film was so disappointing, can't believe it's been nominated for so many awards

  16. Esha U February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Yeah, the movie was nothing but a long soundtrack with few dialogues here and there. Definitely not worthy of it's Big Picture nomination, even though Rami's performance is terrific.

  17. doudeau1988 February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    This movie was total garbage!

  18. wisemoon40 February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I don’t think the film vilified Freddie’s sexuality and I don’t think they made the film to punish Freddie. What I do think is correct is that they wanted to focus on the music. So often, movies about queer celebrities who had AIDS (or anyone with AIDS) are all about fear and tragedy. Freddie himself didn’t want the public to focus on his sexuality or his disease…he wanted them to focus on his music and ignore his private life. Perhaps that was naive, but it’s documented that he felt that way. I also dispute criticisms that the movie paints him as gay and ignores his bisexual nature. But no one in the 70s and 80s believed bisexuality was a valid orientation. Gay activists scorned celebs who claimed they were bisexual, saying they were afraid to come out. Straight people saw bisexuals as decadent libertines. The movie accurately portrayed those attitudes. It also made clear that he loved his common law wife, loved her the rest of his life. That in itself could have been glossed over or omitted and it wasn’t.

  19. Betsy Red February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I am a big Queen fan who grew up listening to their music. I thought this was a bad movie and one of the worse music biopics I have seen. They cleaned up and tamed Freddie to the point of the insipid, making him a whiny arrogant character. I didn't find that the music was front row either. Many epic musical moments, like the creation of under pressure, were passed by plus they could have had more songs. Ending with re-creating Live Aid instead of showing the original one was ridiculous, they tried to move us with the connection between the different characters and yet, I felt nothing. What a boring disappointment that movie was.

  20. Fawn Whisperer February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    BUT I THOUGHT THE OLD LADY DROPPED IT INTO THE OCEAN AT THE END

  21. Kamen Rider Wizard February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    The producer stated: “We are making a movie, not a documentary”

  22. hakasims February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    The members of Queen are the perfect illustration for the phrase “You either die a hero ir live long enough to see yourself become the villain”

  23. Kevin Maryles February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Nicely done. Missed opportunity for sure.

  24. Tobias Wedin February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Factual accuracy is super important, the only reason this movie got away with it is because the music of Queen is the ultimate soundtrack to whatever you do.

  25. Daffy Stardust February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Even if everything in the movie had been accurate, it still would have been a pretty mediocre biopic. I really don’t get why it is being included so heavily in awards season consideration. There are several better films that could have been substituted and drawn audiences to them.

  26. Rachel Rhodes February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I’m still really very conflicted about the movie how honest it was, the sanitation and Bryan singer but then I personally really loved it as I’ve grown up listening their music and love it and the performances were great I just find it really hard to reconcile with it in my head

  27. dodt February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I wouls love to see a movie review from you guys on :The Life of David Gale.

  28. Mohammed Shafei February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I was hoping the film added more than music, but it added little else. I was very disappointed.

  29. Miles Parker February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    That's an artistically despicable and morally conservative film. Oh! And historically inaccurate!

  30. Lindsey Bailes February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    The band has said that they didn't feel like Sacha Baron Cohen respected Freddie as more than what he became known for- which is excess- with regards to partying/drug use and his sexuality. And who knows if how they remember him is different or similar to how this movie showed.

  31. Roxane February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Really nice video ! I can see why it upsets so many people but I don't get the hate for innaccuracies in movies generally speaking. I mean, I really enjoyed the film, although it is surely too classical, "clean" and kinda Hollywood-cliché in many ways, because it introduced me to this marvellous band. When I got to see it changed many things from the real events… I really did not give a damn…cause I thought there were already so many documentaries to watch if I am looking for 100% accuraccies. This movie is a nice family entertainement, that's the point and that's what I expected when I went to cinema. I am not into trash scenes so I am not sure I would have liked the Sacha Bohen version btw….and I just thought this movie reasonably shows the "dark" side of Freddie, it is not totally eluded.

  32. You Call That a Knife? February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I thought we already had the answer to this question? The movie was watered down because the surviving band members wanted it that way. In fact, the way Sacha Baron Cohen explains it, they originally wanted Freddie to die in the middle of the film, and then focus the second half of the film on how the band went on without him

  33. Aman M S February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    My issues with this movie was not it's innacuracy. Some of the changes were completely justified. The problem was that most of the stuff they made up wasn't executed well. A lot of the scenes felt very fake and unrealistic (for example the scene where Freddy goes to meet the band at the exact same time as their lead singer quit). We can easily tell what really happened and what didn't. Black Klansman is more historically inaccurate than this movie (most of the stuff including Felix's gang and the romance were made up for the movie). But most of the stuff they made up were executed well in a very interesting manner.

    The Pg 13 rating also harmed bohemian rhapsody

  34. Fiorenza Agazzi February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I love their music, but don't know much about the history of Queen (I can barely remember the band members names). Yet, when I saw that the Freddy in the movie was as an egotistic, vain man and the other members were angels I started thinking "This sounds like a huge lie". I'm glad you guys didn't decide to omit the backlash against the movie and the fact that the surviving band members were involved in the production in your analysis.

  35. Cynima Rapscallion February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I'll see it when Cohen makes it.

  36. The Mad Titan February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    The problem with the movie is that it was way too generic and bland for a movie about fricking Queen it was clearly more focused on the music (which is not neccarliy bad) but forgot to develop the characters and give them any emotinal depth it has alot of heart but not enough development. The band wanted a safe family-friendly movie that celeberates Freddie and Queen, but I agree with you that Freddie would've probably wanted a movie that an outrageous film that pushes the boundaries just like their music than a safe standard movie but since he's dead we can never truly know. Also many people said the Sacha Baron Cohen movie would have been better, and while that could be true I feel that wouldn't have been the perfect way to go either because whenever I hear about what the movie would have been about I can't help but feel that the movie (while maybe an accurate depiction of Freddie's lifestyle) would just lost itself in being outrageously and sexually gratuitous and forget the heart humanity (something that I feel Bohrap, for all its flaws did a good job of showing). Freddie was more than just a sex freak he was also a great lead singer, vocalist, and a generous man.

  37. Sujit Roy February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    This movie sounds like a load of BS; good on Screenprism for not sugar coating it. PS, Susannah is fine as hell.

  38. stflaw February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    8:16 – Did these guys just kill John Deacon?

  39. The Colorization Channel February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    They changed the facts probably to respect Freddie's privacy. He wouldn't want a film made about himself which was rated 18 and nosed about his private daily life, that would be like The Doors (A biopic which was less occupied with celebrating the works of Jim Morrison and instead was more occupied with nosing into the private life of a fictionalized version of Jim)

  40. Roonagu February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Its simple, this movie is mainly Freddies "digital memorial/monument" for future/recents generations. And boy it works..

  41. Ane Dijitak February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    i'm just glad that this movie as a huge box office hit has introduced queen music to younger generations.
    but dont worry, for such a hit, someone will remake this film (probably a wild r rated version) in the future.

  42. hkistreet February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I didn't know these facts. But now that I do, I surely have no reason to watch the film anymore. No matter if some alterations have to ultimately be made, there should be a truth in the end product still. In light of what I just heard the truth seems to be handled with utter indifference, so I will treat the film the exact same way.

  43. sam kashmir February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I think the movie was decent. But Freddie deserved better.

  44. Diggorydies February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    All the while I watched the movie, I kept thinking that maybe a little dump is being taken on Freddie here.

  45. TheBonny720 February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    For the first time, I disagree with your analysis of a film. While it’s true that Freddie was painted badly as the ego-driven lead singer at times, he was also represented to care about his place in Queen and what Queen meant over just him. He was close to the members, especially after his diagnosis and never saw himself as more than 25% of Queen, which was shown in the film. You completely missed the effect and role of Paul Prenter in the film, which showed him as the villain always whispering in Freddie’s ear trying to break up the band. There is a lot of truth to that, and you never even mentioned it. The film didn’t just focus on Freddie being a diva as extremely as you are implying. This film wasn’t about just Freddie, it was about Queen, and Queen is for everyone. So making an R rating would have gone against what Queen is all about. Also, Freddie was a deeply private man and never displayed his sexuality as some sort of identifier. He happened to be gay, and it was simply a part of who he was. Neither he as a person, nor his public persona were defined by his sexuality, as seems to be the case with many of today’s celebrities. He was known to say in many interviews, “I’m just me.” In terms of conflict being created by his solo career, Freddie’s solo career DID in fact cause strain on the band, more so than Roger or Brian’s. The reason for this is timing, and Freddie’s deal. They hadn’t had their usual success with Hot Space and were truly getting tired and burnt out at the time. That was around the time, when they had spent a lot of time in Munich, that they felt they might have broken up. And Freddie was offered much more than Queen which added strain. Freddie himself even mentioned internal strain and jealousy about whether or not his album would do better than Queen. So it’s not like the film fabricated a conflict to solely make Freddie look bad, there was truth to the conflict. Sacha Cohen wanted a hard R with lots of sex scenes. That has nothing to do with Queen, and like I said, it would have gone against Queens universal accessibility. I will say again, Freddie was a deeply private person, and he preferred ppl knew him as a performer, not a wildly promiscuous gay performer. He literally made a song called the great pretender saying that, he’s a stage performer. This film did what it set out to do. Highlight the story of Queen and what they and their music mean to the world. It was a celebration of Freddie and the other members. The need for the “truth” from a biopic by some fans surprises me. It implies the assumption that fans are OWED the private truths about celebrities simply because they are fans; they are not.

  46. Dyutiparna Guha February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Just my two cents:
    This film was, unfortunately, completely soulless. It seems like the makers couldn't even decide what kind of a film they wanted it to be. On one hand, it seems like it's a concert film, but the concerts are seldom woven into its narrative, (unlike "Almost famous", a film I recently saw, and while it's no masterpiece, but it does a better job at making music a part of its narrative). On the other hand, it wants to be a portrait of Freddie Mercury's life, but it keeps his character at bay, almost like taking a peek into his life, but never letting him tell his own story. We never get to understand the reasons behind his actions in the film. While his character was written with the broadest of strokes, other characters were even more painfully one-note. And I'm one of the biggest fans of Rami Malek. Wonderful actor, deserves all the accolades, but his performance in the pilot episode of Mr. Robot alone, blows this performance out of the water. The only reason this film was such a big hit is because of the man Freddie Mercury himself, and because of the love we have for Queen's film. Otherwise, it's a very mediocre film, no different than all the other by-the-numbers biopic we are so used to watching.

  47. n o k i a d o l l February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    oh

  48. Linnyboy February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Historical accuracy does NOT matter in biopics. What matters is getting the INTERPRETATION of the subject, correct. For example, Aaron Sorkin said when writing Social Network and Jobs, it wasn't important to get everything correct or accurate because it's impossible and boring. If one were to travel back in time, the director would never be able to correctly parallel the past. Furthermore, creating a biopic is like a painting versus a photograph. A photograph is 100% accurate, however, painting is always an artists interpretation. In regards to film, a photograph is like a documentary and a painting is not. If a film director is aiming for accuracy, then they're making a documentary.

  49. Jeremy Boyd February 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    So are there any movies that are true stories completely accurate?

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