Movie Night – Maestro

Directed: Bradley Cooper

Writer: Bradley Cooper and Josh Singer

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan

Trivia: The first 47 minutes of the movie are in black and white, symbolising old Hollywood glamour.

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I’m a huge fan of historical bios, and when you throw music into the mix, it automatically lands on my TBW (To Be Watched) movie list.

So, for my inaugural Movie Night segment, I eagerly dove into the captivating world of “Maestro,” brought to life by the brilliant Bradley Cooper, who directs and stars as the iconic Leonard Bernstein.

“Maestro” takes us on a thrilling ride through the pages of a traditional biopic, with Bradley Cooper skillfully steering the ship. Yes, it treads familiar waters with episodic storytelling, but don’t let that dampen your excitement. The film’s technical brilliance is like a dazzling symphony for your senses, leaving you in awe of Cooper’s meticulous attention to detail. Picture this: six years of preparation to conduct a pivotal scene that recreates Bernstein leading the London Symphony Orchestra. It’s not just a scene; it’s a breathtaking showcase of dedication, capturing the very essence of the legendary composer.

Now, imagine the movie unfolding like a lively scrapbook, filled with energy and kinetic pacing, highlighting Bernstein’s defining moments. Cooper plays with visual contrasts, seamlessly switching between black-and-white segments, aspect ratio shifts, and framing choices that mirror the conflicting dualities within Bernstein’s complex persona.

But “Maestro” isn’t just about the music; it’s a deep dive into Bernstein’s personal life, his relationships, and the struggle with his sexual identity. The film courageously explores the tension between Bernstein’s public image and his private battles, skillfully portraying his marriage to the captivating Felicia Montalegre, played with depth by Carey Mulligan. In fact, the film might as well have been titled “Leonard and Felicia” for the central role she plays in the narrative.

Sure, “The Maestro” might sidestep a few elements – at times, it feels as if it is an avoidance movie, shying away from sex, Judaism, and daring cinematic creativity. Cooper’s approach leans towards populism, aiming for broad appeal rather than diving into the controversial or challenging aspects of Bernstein’s life.

Yet, here’s where Cooper’s genius shines. His calculated approach crafts a film perfectly tailored for Netflix, the Oscar season, and a vast audience. Despite its critiques for being calculated and kitschy, “The Maestro” triumphs in delivering a romantic portrayal of Bernstein and Montalegre’s larger-than-life love story. Cooper’s skill as both a virtuoso and a populist is undeniable, making it a compelling and accessible cinematic experience. 

So, If you’re a fan of non-linear storytelling, biopics, and music, then “Maestro” is tailor-made for you. My final rating after the cinematic experience?

A solid 3.5/5 stars.

Would love to get your impressions and thoughts about the movie in the comment box below.
Let’s start a conversation.

 

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