Run time: 129 mins
Say what you like about Bradley Cooper, the man sure likes to set himself a challenge.
After directing and starring in A Star Is Born, he’s tackling another musician, and not a fictitious character this time, but Leonard Bernstein himself, one of the most revered composers of the late 20th century.
Although Maestro is a love story that plays out from Bernstein’s meeting with his future wife Felicia (Carey Mulligan) right through to her deeply affecting death, it is not one in which sexual fidelity plays much part. All through their decades of marriage and the raising of their three children, Bernstein is having affairs with various men. Felicia tolerates them, right until she realises the toll her endless forbearance has taken on her.
Coopers’ likeness to Bernstein – particularly in his later years – is astonishing, as is his ageing make-up, which is incredibly natural-looking. But beyond that is a touching story of genius. Like Bernstein’s music, this film won’t appeal to everyone,, but it is an accomplished and moving biopic of two fascinating people, and a glimpse behind the public face of a truly great artist