ITALIANO wrote:Let me just add - since it was mentioned I think in this thread - that the Edith Piaf biopic with Marion Cotillard was a bit more layered honestly.
Hmm...not sure about that; it may just be a decade's distance helping diminish the earlier film's flaws. But then again, most of us went into La Vie en Rose expecting a good movie, while we went into Bohemian Rhapsody expecting a fiasco, so, discounting for the standards by which we judged, perhaps you're right.
This is weird though, isn't it? (fitting for this oddest of film years): half a dozen of us here, intelligent filmgoers, don't exactly like this film (Sabin comes close to articulating just what I said to a friend the other day: it's not a good movie, but it's damnably enjoyable). And this puts us at odds with not just Metacritic (a truly lousy 49, last I looked) but with vast portions of Film Twitter, which view the film as truly awful and evil.
It's been a very weird year for critical response. Maybe this is what happens in a non-consensus year, but I feel like critics have wildly over-praised some films this year (Black Panther, A Star is Born, even Roma -- though I obviously like the last one considerably more) while excoriating others (Bohemian Rhapsody and Vice) at levels normally reserved for Razzie contenders. I feel like "things fall apart, the center cannot hold" ought to be invoked at some point.
My theory for why Bohemian has been so vilified:
1) The association with Bryan Singer. I'm actually a little vague on Singer's level of responsibility. Unless my memory is deceiving me, he didn't receive directing credit on the print I saw (I think it said Dexter Fletcher?), but IMDB lists him as director. Is this one of those "Pierre Boulle wrote the Bridge on the River Kwai screenplay" things, something said for popular consumption but believed by no one? In any case, many of the people online who hate the film start with "directed by a pedophile" and proceed from there.
2) The first trailer apparently made it look like Mercury's gayness was going to be seriously downplayed; this got a lot of people ready to yell, and they seem to have stuck to that position even though the actual film doesn't really merit the accusation.
3) This is something it's hard for me to judge, because it's not my tribe, but...I think some gay audiences find the film's approach to gay issues problematic. One thing is what Sabin mentioned: the fact that the Evil Manager is the guy who appears to lead Freddie into expressing his gay side -- it makes people conflate the two and feel the film is putting a negative spin on his being gay. I was able to separate the two, but I can see where some would not be able to do it so easily.
Another is simply depicting gay life from the 70s as a sort of furtive, guilt-ridden thing. This may just be an unbridgeable gap with people born later, in an era where gay life is far more integrated into the general American fabric. The sense I always got from gay friends of my generation was that, back in the day, there was a good deal of furtiveness involved -- it wasn't the completely taboo 50s/early 60s, but it wasn't the march in parades/run for city council open-ness we take for granted today (not suggesting it's gay utopia now, either, but the differences are stark). Maybe some people are reacting against the historical realities because, in retrospect, the way they're portrayed feels demeaning?
It's odd to be spending this much time poring over such a mediocre effort, but, again, that's 2018.