Why Bohemian Rhapsody should win the best picture Oscar

The Guardian - Feb 21, 09:51 GMT

It was panned by the critics but the Freddie Mercury biopic has proven a hit with cinemagoers

It was panned by the critics but the Freddie Mercury biopic has proven a hit with cinemagoers. Did critics get it wrong?

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It took me a while to get round to watching Bohemian Rhapsody. After all, I’d read the reviews. Our own Steve Rose said that the story “skirts dangerously close to Spinal Tap territory” – only without the laughs. AO Scott in the New York Times wrote that “the film seems engineered to be as unmemorable as possible, with the exception of the prosthetic teeth worn by Rami Malek.” And there was the film’s moralising stance on Freddie Mercury’s sexuality. As Alexis Petridis put it: “It seems to view the fact that he was gay as little short of a tragedy.”

Then the film was unleashed on an unsuspecting public – and became a smash hit. At time of writing, it has taken $844m (£645.5m, twice as much as A Star Is Born), astonishingly making it the highest grossing drama ever. My mum and dad went to see it and thought it was brilliant. A friend with usually impeccable taste also told me it was a hoot. “But isn’t it really homophobic?” I asked. “Yes,” he admitted, but even that didn’t entirely detract from his, or his boyfriend’s, viewing pleasure.

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