Bohemian Rhapsody charts the journey of Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) and Queen from humble beginnings playing gigs at college bars to the heights of the 1985 Live Aid concert. The movie begins when eccentric Indian British Parsi student Farrokh Bulsara meets part-time musicians Brian May (Gwilym Lee), Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) and John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello) in 1970s England.
The four young men form a band, Queen, and Farrokh changes his name to Freddie Mercury. He also begins a relationship with long-time friend Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton), despite battling with his own sexuality. Queen’s success throws Freddie headfirst into a world of sex, drugs and parties, which leads to a growing detachment from his bandmates, friends and family, and contributes to a developing substance abuse problem. Freddie is further alienated from Queen when he tries to pursue a solo career and his life begins to spiral downward until he’s diagnosed with AIDS.
After an intervention from Mary, Freddie reconciles with his bandmates, family and friends, before playing one of Queen’s greatest performances at Live Aid.
Sexuality; family; drug and alcohol abuse/dependency; AIDS; death
Bohemian Rhapsody has some violence. For example:
- Freddie shoves Roger in the face, but Roger isn’t hurt.
- Freddie threatens to kill his manager if he doesn’t get out a car. It’s implied that Freddie is high on drugs at the time.
Bohemian Rhapsody has some sexual references. For example:
- Characters make frequent references to sex. These include derogatory comments about both men and women. For example, Freddie says to a female reporter, ‘Does that thing between your legs bite?’
- Freddie lies in bed with Mary. It’s implied that they have had sex. They don’t have clothes on, but they’re covered by sheets.
- Freddie jokes that he wants Mary to tell her father that she is an ‘epic shag’.
- The camera holds focus on Freddie’s crotch during a music video segment.
- It’s implied that Freddie has had sex with several men, including strangers.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Bohemian Rhapsody shows some use of substances. For example:
- Characters including Freddie drink beer, wine, vodka and other spirits regularly and often excessively.
- Characters smoke cigarettes regularly.
- Freddie takes pills. He’s accused of being ‘high’ several times.
Nudity and sexual activity
Bohemian Rhapsody shows some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- Freddie lies on top of Mary and kisses her deeply on the mouth.
- Freddie smacks and pinches various male and female characters’ bottoms.
- Freddie and various male and female characters kiss intimately on the mouth on several occasions.
- Women and men are scantily dressed at parties.
- Freddie goes to a gay club where men dance intimately with each other. Some men are dressed in BDSM-style leather clothing.
The following products are displayed or used in Bohemian Rhapsody: Stoli vodka and an Aston Martin car.
Bohemian Rhapsody has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Bohemian Rhapsody is a semi-fictionalised biopic about Freddie Mercury and the band Queen, directed by Bryan Singer.
It’s an exciting and foot-stomping movie that’s likely to entertain teenagers and adults, but is not recommended for children under 13 years. There are strong adult themes exploring substance abuse, sex, sexuality and AIDS, which younger children are unlikely to fully understand. You might like to discuss these issues with children aged 13-15 years.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:
- accepting support from friends and family
- being true to yourself
- sharing responsibility and successes with group members.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:
- drug and alcohol abuse
- safe sex practices
- implications and consequences of revenge porn
- racism – characters frequently use the term ‘paki’ to describe Freddie’s Indian heritage, although he isn’t Pakistani.