Bohemian Rhapsody is the last big spectacular based around a band or musician that we still had to watch and, ironically, it's the only one we actually own. Of course, it's not so much a movie that uses the songs, such as Yesterday or Last Christmas, but a movie about the songs. It's a biopic, and in that instance is most similar to Rocketman. Indeed, the films even share a character: turns out Elton John's first manager was also the person that signed Queen. Talk about a career!
Much like all of the above, Rhapsody left me wanting to bash out the Spotify playlists, and much like Rocketman and Blinded by the Light, it also left me with a much deeper emotional investment to the respective artists and their place in history. But despite these similarities, Rhapsody truly sits in a class of its own. I'll forever be annoyed that Remi Malek won the Best Actor Oscar for his take on Freddie Mercury the same year that Viggo Mortensen was up for his role in Green Book but having watched both films... I get it. Malek is utterly transformed in this role and the spell he casts is undeniably brilliant. I'm more than used to being in tears at the end of a film, particularly one like this which has such a tragic, public, and globally-felt loss to music involved, but to get to me in the first 20 minutes is largely reserved for Up! at this point. By the time we get to Mercury's AIDs diagnosis, and their Live Aid performance, I was just weeping.
And yes, Malek is phenomenal, but so is everyone around him. Whoever cast this movie deserves an Academy Award of their own; there are no bad performances amongst them and the band, in particular, so utterly embody their roles it's hard to believe it wasn't actually Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon just with some clever de-ageing applied. Hell, even Mike Myers manages to put in a performance in which I forgot it was Mike Myers completely (sure, the massive wig and beard helped, but still).
I'm sure that large parts of the story have been written through rose-tinted shades, and I'm sure other parts are a little fanciful, but at no point does Rhapsody feel like anything more than an open and honest love letter to Queen and their music. It's unflinching in its vision, supported by an exceptional cast, some brilliant direction, and a core story that already has a lot of emotional weight. The result is moving, entertaining, and utterly fantastic.