Maestro reviews call Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein biopic ‘beautiful’ | Hollywood

By admin Nov24,2023

After Maestro made its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival in September 2023, the movie had a big screen release on November 22 in select theaters. The highly-anticipated film will premiere on December 20 on Netflix. As more and more reviews of Maestro drop, critics have largely shared positive reviews of the movie, which marks Bradley Cooper’s second directorial effort after 2018’s A Star Is Born. Also read: Bradley Cooper is unrecognisable as Leonard Bernstein in Maestro, fans predict an Oscar

Maestro reviews: Directed by Bradley Cooper, the film features him in the lead role alongside Carey Mulligan.

Maestro, Bradley Cooper’s latest outing behind the camera, also features him in the lead role. Maestro revolves around the love story between the renowned composer Leonard Bernstein and actor Felicia Montealegre, essayed by Carey Mulligan.

Different from ‘bog-standard biopics’

Writing for Entertainment Weekly, critic Christian Holub said that though Maestro tells the story of iconic American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, Maestro’s impressionistic style – its preference for producing beautiful images over reciting biographical details – ‘goes a long way to distinguish it from bog-standard biopics’.

He wrote, “Bradley Cooper is not employing black-and-white just for a cheap evocation of ‘the past’ but to utilise the format’s unique storytelling capabilities. The same is true for his use of full color; when the film leaves black-and-white behind, this change is evident not just in the character’s faces but in how the camera luxuriates in the lush foliage of the Bernsteins’ Connecticut estate.”

Bradley is great as Leonard Bernstein

Praising Bradley’s performance, Vulture‘s Bilge Ebiri wrote, “As Bernstein, Cooper’s performance is a masterful reconstruction, but it remains a reconstruction, earthbound and cool to the touch. (As for the much-speculated-upon nose — it doesn’t look to me all that different from Cooper’s own, not-exactly-short proboscis, save for scenes showing him as an old man, where the make-up job is actually quite accomplished.) One senses that the actor has obsessively studied every TV appearance, every inch of documentary footage, to recreate Bernstein’s diction and manner, his haughty and rapid-fire way of speaking.”

The New York Times‘ Manohla Dargis said in his review that Maestro ‘is a fast-paced chronicle of towering highs, crushing lows and artistic milestones’. He wrote, “Maestro is as ambitious as Cooper’s fine directorial debut, A Star Is Born, but the new movie is more self-consciously cinematic. Some of the choices — different aspect ratios as well as the use of both black-and-white and color film — nod at the look of movies from earlier eras. The visuals also convey interiority, swells of mood and feeling, as does Lenny’s explosive, at times ecstatic physicality, the full-bodied intensity of his conducting style and the orgasmic rivers of sweat that pour off him.”

Bradley Cooper is seen as composer Leonard Bernstein in Maestro
Bradley Cooper is seen as composer Leonard Bernstein in Maestro

Carey Mulligan steals the show

Ian Freer wrote in his Maestro review for Empire that Maestro never truly gets under its subject’s skin, ‘but it’s mightily impressive, full of brilliant filmmaking, many memorable scenes’ and a superb Carey Mulligan walking away with the entire movie.

He wrote, “Make no mistake, this is Mulligan’s movie (she deservedly gets top billing). Mixing a sense of refined poise with an inner resilience, it’s possibly Mulligan’s best performance. And, in the final stretch, becomes emotionally devastating. She even makes a movie-movie trope feel real when Felicia, exasperated with her husband, walks fully clothed into a swimming pool and sits cross-legged on the bottom (like you do). For all Cooper’s skill at portraying conflicted and mercurial, it’s Mulligan who provides the film’s beating heart, a kind of Tom Cruise to Cooper’s Dustin Hoffman. In the end, it’s clear who the true maestro is.”

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