Rami Malek
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Mommy Movie Review: Is “Bohemian Rhapsody” OK for Kids?

My 14-year-old daughter is the biggest Queen fan I know, but my whole family was excited about seeing Bohemian Rhapsody. I was even able to talk my husband (who normally avoids screenings) into watching Freddy Mercury’s rise to fame with us, but I walked out of the theater with extremely mixed feelings.
The problems with Bohemian Rhapsody probably stem from the dismissal of director Bryan Singer, who was fired before the film’s completion. Several issues were cited, namely Singer’s late arrivals, missed workdays and his clashes with the film’s star, Rami Malek (read about it HERE), but it’s obvious that a clear direction was sometimes missing. The result is a film that feels shallow, and leaves us with nothing about Queen that we didn’t already know. Bohemian Rhapsody is saved by Rami Malek’s seamless performance though, and by the raucous performances of Queen classics (especially in their recreated Live-Aid set). Smart theaters should plan Sing-Along screenings through the holidays, so everyone can scream “Ay-Oh” with Freddy Mercury and stomp along to “We Will Rock You.”
I’m giving Bohemian Rhapsody a B- for swinging wildly between “meh” and “fantastic,” but the real question is CAN YOU TAKE YOUR KIDS?
I think we all know that Freddy Mercury was gay and that he famously explored his sexuality during the Queen years. Bohemian Rhapsody manages to address this, but without going into too much detail. The MPAA has rated it PG-13 for “thematic elements, suggestive material, drug content and language,” which is a little confusing. Yes, we expect some profanity and drugs from any movie about rock-n-roll, but what are “thematic elements?” The MPAA uses this term to describe content that doesn’t fit into specific categories (like sex, drugs or violence) but might still be considered objectionable to some. This is probably in reference to several scenes of homosexuality in Bohemian Rhapsody. Some are as mild as men hugging and kissing, while others are more sexual in nature (think leather and grinding). Freddy Mercury’s actions are more implied than actually displayed onscreen, though. I sat between my 14 and 11-year-old daughters throughout Bohemian Rhapsody and never once felt uncomfortable, but homosexuality is not a taboo subject in our home. I also appreciated the small bit of HIV education they got from the film, since it’s still a major issue that our society rarely addresses with kids (read recent HIV statistics HERE).
Bohemian Rhapsody didn’t give me any new details about Queen, but it was a wealth of information for my kids (who had never even heard of Live-Aid). My youngest even asked if Freddy Mercury really wore all those crazy outfits onstage. My girls definitely enjoyed the movie even more than my husband and I did, since it delivered great concert footage along with a cool story about a band they love. This is why I’m recommending Bohemian Rhapsody for any young Queen fan, 11-years-old and up. Parents of younger children OR who aren’t sure about those thematic elements should see it before taking their kids for a better assessment. I’ll also let you know if I hear of any Bohemian Rhapsody Sing-Along screenings, because I suspect there will be many! If you want to buy advance tickets AND support this website, click HERE:

2 Comments

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