A Golden Globes Rant

By William Hubbert

At the 2019 Golden Globes awards ceremony, the winner in the Best Drama category was Bohemian Rhapsody, a biopic of Freddie Mercury and his band Queen directed by Bryan Singer and starring Rami Malek, and this was the worst possible decision for Best Drama, and as a student with an interest in filmmaking, I thought I’d tackle as to why it did not deserve the award.

Disregarding the controversy about Bryan Singer and his alleged rape of several young boys and men, the film in itself is an incomprehensible mess, with plotlines strung along and then forgotten about only to be reintroduced at the very end of the movie to no consequence. The film also seems to pick and choose at whim what truths to tell and what to keep silent, as well as moving several real-life events around in Freddie Mercury’s life. The most obvious example of this was Freddie’s death and the Live Aid concert. The film shows Freddie going to a hospital near the end of the film, confirming him as having AIDS, and then the final scene of the film is a several minute’s long celebrations of Queen showcased in the Live Aid concert, where millions attended to help raise money for charity. Despite that this made for more fulfilling storytelling, as Freddie’s disease encouraged him to perform his best at the Live Aid concert, it is not in accordance with real life, as Freddie wasn’t diagnosed until after the concert.

Fellow Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor, but not John Deacon, were producers on the project, and it shows, as they at times discredit Freddie in the film in order to make him seem like a much worse person and to make them seem much more reasonable. Possibly the worst example of historical revisionism in the film is when Freddie is criticized by the band for attempting to break into solo songwriting. In reality, both Brian May and Roger Taylor had done solo albums before Freddie. This seems to be a result of both of these men being producers on the project.

Historical revisionism, attempting to rewrite Freddie’s life to fit a more traditional story archetype, none of these issues compare to the film’s biggest problem, it is poor editing and direction as a film. The movie wants to go for a stylized approach to the era in which Queen music was at its most popular, and in doing so, just copies Edgar Wright’s style of filmmaking, and does so poorly. Whereas Wright uses fast-paced cuts and quick snaps to emphasize the witty nature of the characters he creates, Singer utilizes similar edits in the most sterile way possible, using the technique, but not understanding the reasoning behind it. The montage early on in the movie showcasing Queen’s early rise to fame has some of the most atrocious editings I’ve ever seen in a movie.

All of these issues come together to show one thing, the incompetence on display should not have been eligible for winning Best Drama. Between the biases of the film, to the poor direction, to the controversies surrounding its director, every aspect of this film is amateur at best. In short, it did not deserve Best Drama, and the fact that it was awarded as such is an insult to the other films that came out in 2018.

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