Malaysian fans of Queen are being urged to watch Bohemian Rhapsody somewhere else, with reports the film has been heavily edited to appease anti-homosexuality laws.
For a few weeks now, critics have been raving about Bohemian Rhapsody, the new film that tells the story of British rockers Queen, and their inimitable frontman Freddie Mercury. However, fans in Malaysia have been left fuming after it was revealed that more than 20 minutes has been cut from the version of the film they saw.
As the Malay Mail reports, up to 24 minutes of footage have been cut by censors in accordance with the country’s strict anti-homosexuality laws.
While the film boasts a 134-minute runtime and a PG-13 rating in countries like the US and an M rating in Australia, the Malaysian release has been given an 18 rating, though there’s no mention of a shorter runtime anywhere.
According to fans who have seen the Malaysian version of the film, some of the scenes that were cut include a scene where Freddie Mercury reveals his bisexuality to fiancee Mary Austin, and the video for Queen’s ‘I Want To Break Free’, which features the band dressed in female clothing.
Understandably, some fans have taken to the Internet to warn Malaysian fans against seeing it in their home country. “Disclaimer for watching Bohemian Rhapsody in Malaysia: they cut out ALL the gay scenes thus leaving out HUGE PLOT HOLES,” one Twitter user explained.
“I watched it in both Singapore & Malaysia and I realise you won’t fully understand if you watch it in Malaysia. Recommend to watch someplace else!!”
Disclaimer for watching #BohemianRhapsody in Malaysia: they cut out ALL the gay scenes thus leaving out HUGE PLOT HOLES.
I watched it in both Singapore & Malaysia & I realise you won’t fully understand if you watch it in Malaysia. Recommend to watch someplace else!!
— MalayVines™ (@MalayVines) November 9, 2018
Of course, this isn’t the first time that the film was met with controversy regarding the depiction of Freddie Mercury’s sexuality, with television writer Bryan Fuller expressing his displeasure of the film’s first trailer.
While addressing his concerns online, Fuller accused 20th Century Fox of “hetwashing” the film, removing any indication of Freddie Mercury’s relationships with men.
“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?” he wrote.
Likewise, Fuller took issue with the fact that the trailer glossed over Mercury’s AIDS diagnosis, choosing instead to refer to his sickness as “a life-threatening illness.”
Although a later trailer aimed to address these criticisms, it appears that Malaysian fans will have to wait for the movie to be released on streaming services before they can view the film in its unedited state.