Maestro (2023)

Film and Plot Synopsis

“Maestro” is a towering and fearless love story chronicling the lifelong relationship between Leonard Bernstein (Bradley Cooper) and Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein (Carey Mulligan). A love letter to life and art, “Maestro” at its core is an emotionally epic portrayal of family and love. “Maestro” is directed by Bradley Cooper, who co-write the script with Josh Singer.

‘Maestro’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Maestro (2023)The film begins with Leonard Bernstein (Bradley Cooper) in his 70’s playing a sequence on a piano from his opera “A Quiet Place.” Bernstein is being interviewed about his life and begins to discuss the significant impact that his deceased wife, Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein (Carey Mulligan), had on his life and career. Bernstein mentions that he has seen her ghost from time to time.

The film then jumps to 1943, where a 25-year-old Bernstein is working as an assistant conductor for the New York Philharmonic. Bernstein is given an opportunity to guest conduct after another conductor falls ill. Bernstein’s performance is breathtaking and the response from the audience catapults him to fame. However, the fame causes some strain on his romantic relationship with clarinetist David Oppehheim (Matt Bomer), a gay man that Bernstein lives with.

Not long after, Bernstein meets Felicia at a party, and the conductor becomes enthralled with the aspiring actress. The couple begin dating a short time later which causes Bernstein to end his relationship with David. Ultimately, Felicia and Leonard get married and have three children: Jamie, Alexander, and Nina. Despite his marriage, Bernstein continues to have an attraction to men. Nevertheless, Felicia and Bernstein continue to support each other in their respected careers throughout their marriage.

In the mid-1950’s, the Bernsteins are living an affluent life in the public eye. Bernstein composes several successful operas and Broadway musicals, including the likes of “Candide” and “West Side Story.” Felicia constantly fights concerns about Bernstein’s extra-marital affairs with men. She continually insists to Bernstein that she holds rein over him as his wife. However, the constant affairs eventually take their toll on the couple’s marriage. The marital strain is further exacerbated by Bernstein’s alcohol and substance abuse. However, once the couple’s daughter Jamie (Maya Hawke) hears rumors of her father’s homosexual infidelity, the entire issue comes to a head. Bernstein attempts to explain to his daughter that the rumors are fabricated due to other people’s jealousy over his success.

There’s a saying in Chile about never standing under a bird that’s full of shit. And I’ve just been living under that fucking bird for so long, it’s actually become comedic. Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan)

Thanksgiving arrives and Bernstein returns to the family home late after an alcohol/drug/sex bender. Bernstein and Felicia begin to argue again. Felicia accuses Bernstein of having hate in his heart and warns him that he will “die a lonely old queen” if he continues his current path. Nevertheless, the couple remains married through Bernstein’s composition of “Mass” in 1971. In 1973, Bernstein conducts Mahler’s “Resurrection Symphony” in a performance at the Ely Cathedral, England – a concert that was considered one of his greatest. At the conclusion of the concert, Felicia reconciles with Bernstein and professes that there is no hate in his heart.

A few years later, Felicia is diagnosed with breast cancer and is informed that the cancer has metastasized to her lung. Felicia undergoes various surgeries and aggressive chemotherapy programs, but her physical condition continues to worsen. Bernstein stops nearly everything to take care of his wife. Ultimately, Felicia passes away on June 16, 1978, in Bernstein’s arms. Shortly after Felicia’s death, Bernstein and his family abandon their lavish home due to the grief that it instills in them all.

The film then jumps to the 1980’s. Bernstein continues to teach the art of conducting while maintaining his active party lifestyle and vigorous affairs with much younger male students. The film then returns to the interview that was being conducted in the beginning of the film. Bernstein confesses to the interviewer that he still misses Felicia terribly before his mind flashes back to an image of her in her youth walking into their yard.

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Our Rating

Netflix released Maestro on November 22, 2023. Bradley Cooper directed the film starring Carey Mulligan, Bradley Cooper, and Matt Bomer.

User Rating: 3.33 ( 3 votes)
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