Bohemian Rhapsody

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Bohemian Rhapsody Movie Poster Image
Exuberant music, electric performance in routine biopic.
  • PG-13
  • 2018
  • 134 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 17 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Movie tries to champion teamwork and does get that message across in a few well-placed scenes, but it's also clear that this is entirely Mercury's one-man show; the other three band members never come to life and are almost interchangeable.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mercury's creativity, talent are showcased as much as his fame and success. Band looks for ways to work together and connect with audience, rather than simply coveting success.

Violence

A rock crashes through a window. Fighting, shouting, arguing, mild threats.

Sex

Sex is implied; a couple kisses and lies in bed together. Both opposite-sex and same-sex flirting and kissing.

Language

A use of "f--k," plus uses of "s--t," "bulls--t," "pr--k," "a--hole," "hell," "damn," "piss," "twat," "wanker," "balls," "bollocks," "nuts," "Christ." Also racial slurs ("Paki").

Consumerism

Stolichnaya vodka bottle shown. Pepsi cups prominently displayed (circa 1985 Live Aid show).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking is prevalent; main characters are frequently shown drinking to excess. Main character takes pills. Vodka, beer. Residue of cocaine powder visible on table.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bohemian Rhapsody is a fact-based drama about the rock band Queen, particularly its talented and charismatic lead singer, Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek). While there's quite a bit of drinking (including to excess), as well as characters taking cocaine, the movie isn't as edgy as you might expect for the subject and era. Sex is implied between a man and a woman (they kiss, lie in bed together, etc.), and men kiss and flirt with each other, but there's no graphic nudity. And language includes a use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," and some racial slurs (e.g., "Paki") but isn't extreme. Characters also fight, argue, and shout, and a rock crashes through a window. Like many musical biopics, the movie boasts a strong central performance and inspiring song performances, but the rest is pretty routine. But it should still please the band's fans.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byThe_Real_Truth November 2, 2018

Exciting, edgy and hits all the emotions

You will definitely feel the perspective of Freddy Mercury. There is some drama and defiance surrounding his relationship with his dad. He says the usual suspec... Continue reading
Parent of a 12 year old Written byF. P. November 2, 2018

A good film that has 2 halves- Hetero Freddie and Homosexual Freddie

I think the film is fine, though it should have been made on a Grand scale as this is Queen. What's notable is that the 1st half of the film Freddie is He... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byTom04 October 29, 2018

Really good

This is a really good. There is quite a bit of dramatic moments. There is some implied gay scenes. There is also some implied cocaine use. But overall it’s real... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMovieLover224 November 1, 2018

Great cinematography but not so great messages

I though that this was a very well done movie on the cameras part but the messages and how Freddy is portrayed is very complex. The music is astoundingly good a... Continue reading

What's the story?

In BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, Freddie Bulsara (Rami Malek) dreams of being a singer and goes to clubs to hear his favorite band play. When their lead singer quits, Freddie gets the job. He changes his last name to Mercury, and the band becomes Queen. Thanks to Mercury's astonishing vocal range and the band's hard rock sound, they find immediate success. Freddie marries his sweetheart, Mary (Lucy Boynton), and starts to deal with the pitfalls of fame, including drinking and drugs, ego wars, and his own sexual identity. Spending time with the wrong entourage sends Freddie down a bad path, pursuing a doomed solo career. In 1985, when Queen is invited to play the Live Aid show, Freddie must apologize to his former bandmates and get their groove back. Can they be ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Is it any good?

The music sequences in this drama (especially the Live Aid performance and the recording of the title song) are electrifying, and Malek is magnetic, but overall the movie is slavishly by-the-numbers. Credited to Bryan Singer, who ended up getting fired and replaced by director Dexter Fletcher, Bohemian Rhapsody is almost exactly like many other music biopics, with the same plot arcs covering the rise to success, creativity in action, pitfalls of fame, fighting, bad influences, wrong choices, and then redemption. These real-life stories are of course worth telling, but the difference between following a formula -- one that was thoroughly skewered a decade ago in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story -- and discovering genuine moments of intimacy and life is crucial.

Bohemian Rhapsody had an opportunity with the exuberant Live Aid show, which lasted 20 minutes in real life and made history; here it's the movie's triumphant climax, but it could have been a centerpiece. It's still impressive and very much worth the wait, as is the energized recording of the title song, a joyous circus of creative abandon. It's in these scenes that the band works as a team, while in the more ordinary sequences, Mercury is the lone focus; everything that happens is in relation to him. Given that the movie seems to want to be about families and bonds, it's a little too weighted to one side. But Malek, even acting through a mouthful of prosthetic teeth, does justice to the role; we come away with a great affection for both him and Mercury.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Bohemian Rhapsody depicts drinking and drug use. Is substance use glamorized? Are there consequences for the characters? Why is that important?

  • Mercury is portrayed as being attracted to people of both sexes. Do you feel that this is a realistic depiction of him and his sexuality?

  • Is Mercury a role model? What are his achievements? What are his flaws? Do the former outweigh the latter?

  • Were you a Queen fan before watching the movie? Did the movie make you appreciate their music more?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love true stories

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate