Went to see Bohemian Rhapsody yesterday, against the better advice of many a film critic. Apparently they all hated it. At any rate, the ones I heard and read did.
Not sure why. Maybe they think biopics are kitsch. Maybe they’re right. But I didn’t care. Because I was watching something else.
What got me crying like a baby at the superplex had nothing to do with cinematic prowess (although I thought the casting was supremely well done). I was inspired by an artist who dared to be who he was and who believed in himself even when no one else did.
The Freddie who stood up to opposition from his parents, his lack of friends, his bandmates, the suits, everyone because he had a vision of his work, of what he was meant to be, and didn’t intend to let anyone or anything stop him. He’s the one who gripped me by the guts and pinned me down into my cushy reclining chair. I don’t know how true the movie is, if the real Freddie Mercury was genuinely like that. But the actor made me believe it.
He knew what he had. He had a voice, a presence, a way of connecting with the audience. He was out of this world, almost too big for it. And he was himself, to the very end. He didn’t compromise, and never wavered. Be Freddie or don’t be. No in-between. No half-assery.
I don’t know how many times I have to repeat it to myself before it really starts to sink in, but whatever the number is, I will do it. We all have a vision of ourselves, of who we’re meant to be. For many of us, that vision clashes horribly with the expectations of everyone around us, and we struggle as a result. Between daring to be who we are come what may, and going along to get along. Or some existentially unhappy mixture of the two.
Bohemian Rhapsody says never go along to get along. Do your thing, whatever it is. The louder the better.