It’s still Christmas over here in the UK and I’ve now spent five solid days drinking alcohol, eating a variety of cooked animals, shoveling chocolate into my face, and watching movies.
I finally got around to watching Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (which I thought was excellent), and then yesterday, my wife met some friends for lunch, giving me the perfect opportunity to watch a movie in peace and quiet. Bliss.
Scrolling through my ever-increasing watchlist, I stumbled upon Maestro. It’s a movie I wouldn’t normally be interested in, but the trailers caught my attention so I thought why the hell not?
Before we get to it, I wasn’t expecting to get past about 30 minutes. I knew it had the potential to be a bit mincy because Leonard Bernstein enjoyed a bit of front bottom as well as back bottom, and I was a bit tentative this would focus on the latter.
So, I poured myself a new beverage, this time opting for Jack Daniels Tennesse Fire, grabbed a big bag of peanuts, and kept the remote control in easy reach distance in case any male-on-male action was going to take place and I would need to spam that fast forward button. I wasn’t letting my guard down and I hit the play button and prepared myself for the unknown.
Maestro Was Remarkable
Yep. Who would have thought that I, Eggy the Snyder Bro, who hated Rebel Moon is now about to wax lyrical about a biopic telling the story of a bisexual music composer?!
First up, let me address the gay stuff. Bradley Copper makes no secret of Bernstein’s double life as a married man with children, with a penchant for todger. But Maestro addresses this with class and grace. There are no gratuitous gay sex scenes that you would think Netflix would be desperate to shoehorn in. There is not even any kissing or endless sexual innuendos!
At the most, Maestro clearly shows Berstain is a man of both tastes and makes no secret of it, but instead focuses on his love for his wife and his music. This is a welcome relief and revelation in these sordid times. Other studios need to seriously take note of how to handle these subjects because so far, all they’ve managed to do is drive audiences away. Bravo Bradley Cooper.
A Masterclasss™ In Film Making
This film is old-skool and looks like a throwback to an era when movie making was an art, full of great costumes, make-up, camerawork, lighting, cinematography, acting, direction, and all-around skill. This is so far removed from the heavy-handedness of the CGI assault that plagues our screens today, that you could be forgiven for thinking this film was made decades ago.
We start out in the 1950s and move through to the 1990s, and what Bradley Cooper has done is styled each decade you are in, to the movie making for that era. Honestly, you would think you are watching five short stories about one man’s life, with each filmed in a separate decade and spliced together in 2023. Each era is perfectly recreated. It’s an astonishing feat of craftmanship by all those involved.
A Modern Master?
Bradley Cooper very rarely lets you down with his performances and I think with Maestro, he’s just put himself in the mix to become one of the rare few actors that can adapt to directing with ease and aplomb. The comparison to Orson Welles, Clint Eastwood, and Mel Gibson immediately comes to mind.
You can also see that Cooper is heavily influenced by Steven Spielberg’s style. The way Spielberg has always been able to fill a scene with main characters, background characters, overlapping conversations, and background noise, all the while managing to keep you focused on what is important is here in abundance.
Every minute of this movie keeps you transfixed for all of the reasons stated above, but the performances of Cooper and Carey Mulligan are genuinely excellent. Their chemistry is remarkable and they both transform themselves into their characters with such skill that you never once think you are watching two people pretending to be two other people.
A lot of noise has been made about Oppenheimer scooping a bucket load of Oscars in 2024, particularly for Best Director for Nolan and Best Actor for Cillian Murphy, but I tell you what, write off Maestro at your peril. Maestro is a classic movie-making and something audiences have been crying out for, for a long time.
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