Early reactions to Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody are, to quote its titular song’s first verse, a “little high, little low.”
The musical drama (directed by Bryan Singer, who was later fired and replaced with Dexter Fletcher) about the Queen frontman’s rise to superstardom as part of the British rock band screened Sunday for press and industry attendees on the Fox lot in Los Angeles, and social media impressions have thus far pointed to a mixed reception for the awards hopeful.
“Bohemian Rhapsody is a glorified Wikipedia entry,” The New York Times‘ Kyle Buchanan tweeted, though he — like other critics who shared somewhat negative responses to the film itself — praised Malek’s leading turn. “But Rami Malek plays Freddie Mercury (and wears his wonderful costumes) with incredible gusto.”
“Just did a double feature of A Star Is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody and yeeeeesh that contrast didn’t do the latter any favors,” IndieWire critic David Ehrlich wrote. “Rami Malek sure nails that imitation, tho.”
The Los Angeles Times‘ Jen Yamato summed up her feelings on the film with a reference to an embarrassing evening out: “Watching Bohemian Rhapsody reminded me of the time I subjected a karaoke bar to Queen’s ‘Who Wants To Live Forever,'” she tweeted. “And, well, sometimes you’ve got to read a room.”
Widely expected to be an Oscar player for Malek’s work, the film — produced by The Departed‘s Graham King and written by The The Theory of Everything scribe Anthony McCarten — follows Queen from its early days playing small venues through to their renowned performance at Live Aid in 1985.
Bohemian Rhapsody is scheduled for release on Nov. 2. Read on for social media reactions to the film.