In a nearly sold-out theatre at Landmark Cinemas in Whitby, you would have been able to hear a pin drop if it weren’t for the nostalgic sounds of the band Queen coming from the screen.
The audience was so focused on the screen in front of them their heads barely moved for the entire two hours and 15 minutes of Bohemian Rhapsody. Not since Queen took the stage has a crowd been so immersed in the story and life of lead singer, Freddie Mercury.
Farrokh Bulsara was born in Zanzibar, Tanzania but reborn as Freddie Mercury. The singer’s biography, Mercury, written by Lesley-Ann Jones and published in 2012, is an interesting read. The film, Bohemian Rhapsody, directed by Bryan Singer, is an even more interesting watch mostly because of Rami Malek’s portrayal of Mercury.
The film focusses on Mercury and his whirlwind relationship with the “love of his life” Mary Austin, played by Lucy Boynton. Scenes between the two give viewers a very personal glimpse into the confusion that went on in Mercury’s head and how one relationship can either balance or unbalance a person.
But just how accurate is the depiction of their relationship?
The film shows the development of the pair in a series of small but very impactful scenes, like their first meeting when Mercury went to Biba, a clothing store where Austin worked, and tried on women’s clothes.
The two connect over fashion and Austin becomes the catalyst for Mercury’s iconic style. While there was a connection between the two, this scene in the movie left viewers with the feeling that something was amiss.
It is fact that Mercury and Austin were friends since they met in 1969, and when the singer died in 1991 he left her half of his $75-million estate including his home in London.
In 1973 Mercury and Austin got engaged just as the movie depicts in a small and meaningful scene but they eventually split due to Mercury’s sexuality.
The movie’s depiction of the separation left people in the audience breathless. The passion, love and loss shown through the actor’s eyes make you feel like you are right there in real life. Mercury’s confession that he is bisexual and Austin’s understanding is poignant.
It is true the two split because Mercury was bi-sexual and confused about what he wanted. The movie is accurate in the depiction of this scene and the fact that Austin stayed a large part of the singer’s life.
A scene in which Austin seeks Mercury out at his home in London after not being able to get a hold of him for some time leaves viewers with a sense of hope. After involvement in heavy drugs and a string of hookups, Austin tells Mercury to come home to his family, meaning his band and herself. At this point, he had left the band and had attempted to release a solo album.
The scene shows the two talking in the rain (for dramatic effect of course) and Mercury making the decision to turn his life around.
Austin stayed with Mercury through his known drug and sex-related issues and the movie’s depiction of the pair’s connection is not only spot on, it coincides with Mercury’s biography.
The film’s depiction of the relationship between Mercury and Austin is an impactful part of the movie because it shows how one person can change someone’s life for better or worse.
The movie left an entire theatre so enraptured that no one moved for at least two minutes after the credits started rolling.