We’re three weeks past the release of the Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. Since then, there have been numerous articles, thinkpieces, and social media posts nitpicking the differences between the film and reality. To these people I say: it’s not real life, it’s a movie (dare I say: just fantasy).
It’s very rare for real life events to fit a typical three act structure that is so necessary in film. This means that characters and events need to be switched around, context changed, or removed completely to fit the narrative of the story. As Queen fans, we know that the timeline was off, that Freddie and Jim didn’t meet that way and Freddie and Tim Staffell were friends. None of this matters in the grand scheme of the movie.
I was lucky enough to attend Breakthru, the official North American Queen convention, this summer in Detroit. The special guest this year was Peter Freestone, a long-time associate and friend of Freddie’s and a consultant on Bohemian Rhapsody. While he couldn’t tell us specifics because of a non-disclosure agreement, he did point out that the film was a docu-drama, not a documentary. He said “you have to take off your Queen fan hat… If you spend two hours looking for things that don’t match up, you’ll miss a wonderful movie.” I kept that in mind as I watched, and he was right. If I had nitpicked through the entire movie, I would have missed the amazing details in Garden Lodge, the band teasing Roger about I’m In Love With My Car, and the fact that I’m pretty sure they cloned Brian May just for this movie.
So as a message to all fans: take off your super-fan hat sometimes and enjoy the media they give you. It’s a gift.