Bohemian Rhapsody might make you sing, cheer, weep, and even squint in suspicion more than once. In fact, most of what happens in Freddie Mercury's 2018 biopic has been manipulated to represent a more mainstream movie format. These Bohemian Rhapsody inaccuracies exist for several reasons: some false facts create more narrative tension, while others present a sanitized version of Freddie Mercury’s personal life. Plus, there are a few experiences Queen can’t legally discuss.
Bohemian Rhapsody is hardly the first innacurate biopic to come out of Hollywood, and the film fulfills its purpose of providing an entertaining Queen movie for nostalgic fans, but there are also a few problems. The most controversial issue is the group’s life gets streamlined into an easy-to-swallow version of their story. The history of Queen is as messy as it is fascinating, but probably inappropriate for a PG-13 audience.
From Queen's legendary Live Aid performance to the timeline of other important events in the band's career, Bohemian Rhapsody works its movie magic on the real story of Queen.
Freddie Mercury Met Mary Austin Through Brian MayPhoto: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox; TM & © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
In the film, Freddie Mercury meets his longtime partner, Mary Austin, on the same night he meets the band. Mercury walks backstage and tells Austin he likes her coat in a clumsy sequence. She rebuffs him, but he finds her at the boutique where she works, and they begin their relationship.
In reality, according to Biography, Mercury met Austin in 1969, a year before joining Queen. At the time, she was casually dating Brian May, as May told Yahoo, but Mercury asked May for permission to ask her out, and the two quickly became inseparable.
Queen Was Hardly On A Break Prior To Live AidPhoto: Alex Bailey. TM & © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
Bohemian Rhapsody is framed around Queen's more than memorable Live Aid performance. The film turns the show into a comeback narrative, following years of animosity. They agree to perform, but nearly crumble under pressure while preparing for the biggest music event of the decade. But they miraculously manage to get themselves together, and the legendary Live Aid set shocks the world.
Although the comeback story adds crowd-pleasing structure to the film's finale, it's entirely fabricated. The band was actually on an eight-week break following the end of The Works tour in Australia and Japan in the spring of 1985. According to The New York Times, Queen did steal the show at Live Aid, but one of the reasons they were so electric on stage is because they rehearsed relentlessly and took the show seriously, not because they were feeling the weight of a reunion.
'Fat Bottomed Girls' Plays In The Wrong EraPhoto: Alex Bailey. TM & © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
Queen's personal relationships were not the only inaccuracies in the film - the band's discography was all over the place, as well. "Fat Bottomed Girls," for instance, plays over a montage of Queen's first US tour, which took place in 1974 when the band opened for Mott the Hoople.
In 1974, however, Queen was touring in support of Queen II. It was four years before the release of the album Jazz, which featured "Bicycle Race" and "Don't Stop Me," along with the aforementioned "Fat Bottomed Girls."
John Deacon Wasn't In Queen During Their First GigPhoto: Alex Bailey. TM & © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
The film's interpretation of Queen's first gig is factually inaccurate, but it does make sure to include a few essential realities: Freddie Mercury's undeniable stage presence, Brian May's guitar work, and Roger Taylor's memorable songwriting.
One of the significant changes, however, is that Queen bassist John Deacon was not officially a part of the band at the time of their first stage performance. The group went through three other bass players before finding Deacon, who wrote songs including "You're My Best Friend" and "Another One Bites The Dust."