For some critics, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is little more than just fantasy.
While many reviews have knocked the Queen biopic (in theaters Friday) for its by-the-numbers storytelling, a contingent of people have also taken issue with the movie’s depiction of lead singer Freddie Mercury’s sexuality – or rather, its lack thereof.
Grumblings started online in May with the release of the first “Bohemian” trailer, which Twitter users slammed for seemingly “hiding” the fact that Mercury was bisexual and died of AIDS.
“Anyone else mildly annoyed that the Bohemian Rhapsody trailer features gay/bi superstar Freddie Mercury flirting with and twirling with a woman but no indication of his love of men?” “American Gods” producer Bryan Fuller tweeted.
Although the movie’s second trailer attempted to course-correct – briefly showing Mercury’s long-term partner, Jim Hutton (Aaron McCusker) – complaints grew louder when the PG-13 drama started screening for journalists earlier this month.
Much of the story revolves around Mercury’s relationship with his former fiancée and lifelong confidante Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton), whom he repeatedly calls the “love of my life.” Their romantic relationship hits a rough patch midway through “Bohemian” when she suspects him of cheating on her with men. When Freddie eventually comes out to her as bisexual, Mary corrects him in the moment, saying, “Freddie, you’re gay.”
Into, a gay online magazine, accused the movie of “bi erasure,” writing that it’s “an outright dismissal of who Mercury was.” By relegating Hutton to just a couple of short scenes and ignoring his relationships with other men and women (including German restaurateur Winfried Kirchberger and German actress Barbara Valentin), the film seemingly tries to make the flamboyant frontman more palatable for general moviegoers.
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