Maestro was released to Netflix on Tuesday after its limited theatre release last month and has already been generating huge awards buzz.
The biographical drama film follows the longtime relationship between conductor-composer Leonard Bernstein and actress Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein.
It was directed by Bradley Cooper, who also plays Leonard, from a screenplay he co-wrote with Josh Singer, and also stars Carey Mulligan as Felicia.
The biopic premiered at the prestigious Venice Film Festival in September, where it earned a 7-minute standing ovation and has been rated 81% on Rotten Tomatoes.
It has already earned rave reviews from critics and garnered four Golden Globes nominations, for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress.
Maestro was released to Netflix on Tuesday after its limited theatre release last month and has already been generating huge awards buzz (Bradley Cooper pictured in film)
The biographical drama film follows the longtime relationship between conductor-composer Leonard Bernstein and actress Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein (pictured Leonard Bernstein and Felicia Montealegre in 1959)
It was directed by Bradley Cooper, who also plays Leonard, from a screenplay he co-wrote with Josh Singer, and also stars Carey Mulligan as Felicia (pictured)
However, with its release on Netflix this week the public have been able to give their opinions on the film.
While Carey’s performance has been acclaimed as ‘the star of the show’, many viewers have found fault with the film itself, labelling it ‘unnecessary’.
Several people took to social media to voice their disappointment, accusing the film of ‘minimizing [Bernstein’s] artistic accomplishments’ and having ‘nothing interesting to say’.
Many also blasted the movie as being ‘Oscar-bait’ and slammed Bradley as being so ‘shameless’ in his obvious ‘yearning for that Oscar’, that the film is negatively affected as a result.
One person tweeted: ‘Just watched Maestro and I’m sorry, that was not great. Rough. I rarely like to describe something as contrived but I couldn’t escape the word as I left the theatre. A friend said as the credits rolled “he could’ve been an accountant and it wouldn’t have change a thing”.’
Another echoed: ‘I couldn’t connect with Maestro at all. It looks great, but Cooper’s performance is so inextricably wrapped up with how clearly he is yearning for that Oscar. I couldn’t figure out any other motivation for him making the movie at all.’
A third wrote: ‘only 10 minutes into MAESTRO but you ever get the feeling a movie is trying too hard to get an Oscar?’ with a fourth agreeing: ’10 mins into Maestro and this is maybe most oscars bait movie of the year my god’.
Someone else said: ‘MAESTRO is a major Oscar contender. It also reeks of a movie desperately trying to be a major Oscar contender. With exception to Carey Mulligan, I was not impressed though you can tell Bradley Cooper (who directs and stars) sure tried hard.’
However, with its release on Netflix this week the public have been able to give their opinions on the film
While Carey’s performance has been acclaimed as ‘the star of the show’, many viewers have found fault with the film itself, labelling it ‘unnecessary’ (Carey pictured in film)
Many also blasted the movie as being ‘Oscar-bait’ and slammed Bradley as being so ‘shameless’ in his obvious ‘yearning for that Oscar’, that the film is negatively affected as a result (Bradley pictured last month)
A sixth added: ‘Maestro is exquisitely performed and gorgeously shot, but the narrative’s centering of Bernstein’s (mostly?) performative marriage & minimizing of his artistic accomplishments makes it clear that this is a movie about a queer genius made by and for straight people’.
With a seventh writing: ‘MAESTRO: There’s a much better (great, even) movie in here about 1950s Upper West Side lavender marriage if Bradley Cooper wasn’t obsessed with winning an oscar.’
One fan then said: ‘Maestro (2023) man Bradley Cooper made the tamest gay movie I’ve seen in a long time. Never even kissed a man on the lips once the entire film. And so much of the film until the third act felt inauthentic. It’s like Cooper didn’t even care about the creation but only conducting.’
Another argued: ‘Maestro looks and feels like those movies people talk about when saying that the Oscars are “the vegetables of movies.” Something you’re obliged to watch because it was nominated and is supposed to be good for you but no real enjoyment while doing so’.
While a tenth penned: ‘Carey Mulligan tries hard to do real work while every single other aspect of the film j screams “PLEASE GIVE ME AN OSCAR” in the most obnoxious, disingenuous, shameless way possible.’
And another viewer quipped: ‘When I say I don’t want Bradley Cooper to win an Oscar for Maestro it’s not because he’s too eager. It’s because Maestro isn’t very good.’
However, there were also several viewers who praised both Bradley and the film and hit out at the ‘Oscar bait’ criticism as cynicism, which they argued does not hinder the movie.
One person argued: ‘Maestro is so earnest that the constant “he wants an oscar so bad” convo borders on cynical to me. I get having issues with it but come on this guy cares’.
Several people took to social media to voice their disappointment, accusing the film of ‘minimizing [Bernstein’s] artistic accomplishments’ and having ‘nothing interesting to say’
Another gushed: ‘If Bradley Cooper doesn’t get an Oscar for ‘Maestro’ then there’s no justice in this world. He BECAME Leonard Bernstein.’
A third fumed: ‘Twitter before Maestro’s release: “We want Bradley Cooper to win his overdue Oscar!” Cooper: *Makes an ambitious film that although not perfect showcases his skill as an actor and director* Twitter now: “Nooooo not like that! He’s gotta mean it!” Make it make sense.’
Someone else praised: ‘#Maestro continues to dazzle with each watch, solidifying its position as the most beautiful film of the year. Cooper’s performance makes a compelling argument for him to clinch Best Actor…by a mile.’
And a fifth person tweeted: ‘maestro earns its oscar-bait criticism, but it is still deeply human and moving. carey mulligan’s performance is special, the star of the show.’
Maestro has not been without controversy even ahead of its release, after being accused of ‘Jewface’.
Bradley’s makeup, which included a prosthetic nose to play the Jewish icon, drew strong criticism from a number of leading members of the Jewish community.
His transformation into the legendary composer was no small feat, taking five hours to complete.
The amazing reception brought Bernstein’s three children – Jamie Bernstein, Alexander Bernstein and Nina Maria Felicia Bernstein – to tears.
However, there were also several viewers who praised both Bradley and the film and hit out at the ‘Oscar bait’ criticism as cynicism, which they argued does not hinder the movie
‘The last stage – he was covered pretty much everywhere, the bodysuit and arms — that took over 5 hours,’ makeup artist Kazu Hiro told the audience at the film’s New York Film Festival screening, per EW.
But the actor’s prosthetic nose sparked online chatter, with some calling him out for playing to ‘Jewface’ stereotypes with the exaggerated facial feature and the casting of a non-Jewish actor in a Jewish role.
Double Oscar winner Kazu, who previously transformed Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, said of the storm: ‘I wasn’t expecting that to happen. I feel sorry that I hurt some people’s feelings.’
He added: ‘My goal, and Bradley’s goal, was to portray Lenny as authentic as possible. Lenny had a really iconic look that everybody knows – theres so many pictures out there because he’s photogenic too – such a great person and inspired so many people.
‘So we wanted to respect the look too, on the inside. So that’s why we did several different tests and went through lots of decisions, and that was the outcome in the movie.’
Bernstein’s children later defended makeup artist Kazu Hiro saying to Vanity Fair: ‘It’s just such an annoying distraction. The people who were waiting to get mad about something were just waiting to pounce.’
Jamie added: ‘It just made us gasp at what they were able to achieve. He (Hiro) would send us photographs on his phone, and some of them were so spot on that we would think, Oh, come on now, he just sneaked in a picture of our dad.’
Jamie added about Bradley’s performance: ‘His energy was so similar to our dad’s, and his way of being in the world and relating to people reminded us more and more of our dad, and we began to see how right he was for the role in ways that wouldn’t even have occurred to us at first.’
Maestro has not been without controversy even ahead of its release, after the actor’s prosthetic nose drew criticism from the Jewish community, who accused him of resorting to ‘Jewface’ (L – Bernstein and R – Bradley)
Bradley ‘s transformation into the legendary composer Leonard was no small feat, taking five hours to complete by makeup artist Kazu Hiro (pictured at the premiere)
Bernstein’s children later defended Kazu saying to Vanity Fair: ‘It just made us gasp at what they were able to achieve. Hiro would send us photographs and some of them were so spot on’
Jamie plus siblings Alexander and Nina earlier released a statement which ran: ‘Bradley Cooper included the three of us along every step of his amazing journey as he made his film about our father.
‘We were touched to the core to witness the depth of his commitment, his loving embrace of our father’s music, and the sheer open-hearted joy he brought to his exploration.
‘It breaks our hearts to see any misrepresentations or misunderstandings of his efforts. It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose.
‘Bradley chose to use makeup to amplify his resemblance, and we’re perfectly fine with that.’