Rami Malek steps into the role of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury and Lucas Hedges plays a gay teenager sent to a conversion camp in two of the weekend's new offerings.
Music royalty will grace the big screen Friday. Bohemian Rhapsody follows the trials and tribulations of the band Queen, specifically lead singer Freddie Mercury's (Rami Malek) rise to stardom.
This weekend will see two other nationwide releases. Tiffany Haddish continues her comedy streak with Tyler Perry's Nobody's Fool, and Disney releases its adaptation of the classic Nutcracker ballet The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.
Meanwhile, limited releases include Boy Erased and A Private War. In the former, Lucas Hedges appears alongside Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe as a young gay man struggling to come to grips with his sexuality. Joel Edgerton directs and stars in the film, which focuses on Hedges' character and his experiences at a conversion therapy program, based on Garrard Conley's memoir.
A Private War also serves up a fact-based story, with Rosamund Pike starring as real-life journalist Marie Colvin, who was killed in 2012 while reporting in Syria on that country's civil war. Read below to see what critics at The Hollywood Reporter have to say about this weekend's new offerings.
War correspondent Marie Colvin has covered conflicts in Sierra Leone and Kosovo, was blinded in one eye in Sri Lanka and ultimately died reporting on the civil war in Syria. Gone Girl's Rosamund Pike portrays Colvin in A Private War, and Jamie Dornan plays Paul Conroy, the freelance photographer who accompanied Colvin to Iraq and survived the attack that ultimately killed her nine years later.
"Honoring the journalist's sense of mission but never shying away from the hard living and psychological damage that went with it, A Private War relies on the believability of star Rosamund Pike, who commits to this take on the character even when (director Matthew) Heineman risks pushing off-the-battlefield drama too far," writes THR's John DeFore.
Bohemian Rhapsody, named after Queen's epic, six-minute hit song, chronicles the professional and personal life of the band's frontman, Freddie Mercury. Bad Robot star Rami Malek plays the versatile vocalist, known for his ample range and highly scrutinized relationships. In her review of the film, THR critic Sheri Linden writes, "The rough edges of Freddie Mercury's story might be smoothed over in this telling, the indulgences and debauchery sugarcoated. Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? It's a little bit of both."
However, she praises Malek's performance as well as one of the final scenes of the film: a re-enactment of Queen's 1985 Live Aid benefit concert at Wembley Stadium, which Linden calls "pretty darn magnifico."
Joel Edgerton's sophomore directing project brings to audiences the story of a teenage boy (Lucas Hedges) who attends conversion therapy at the behest of his parents. Russell Crowe plays his father, a devout pastor, and Nicole Kidman plays his softer, more empathetic mother. Edgerton also plays a large role in the film as Victor Sykes, the head of the conversion program, called "Love in Action." THR critic Stephen Farber says the film "deserves praise not as a polemic but as a richly humanistic, emotionally searing drama that sticks in the memory."
Tiffany Haddish plays a recent parolee intent on tracking down her sister's (Tika Sumpter) catfisher in Tyler Perry's first R-rated comedy. The rest of the Nobody's Fool cast includes Whoopi Goldberg, Omari Hardwick and Amber Riley.
The Disney film, based on the 1816 novel The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, is set to be released just two months shy of Christmas. It stars Mackenzie Foy in the lead role of young Clara and Keira Knightley as Sugar Plum. Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, Tom Sweet and Matthew Macfadyen round out the cast, with a notable appearance by Misty Copeland in the Ballerina Princess role, the dancer's feature film debut.
THR critic David Rooney compares the film to "mechanized holiday department store windows, stuffed with so many busy elements you can barely take them all in before some obnoxious kid behind you is nudging you to keep the line moving," adding, "So much attention has been lavished on the sumptuous visuals that the story and characters are suffocated."