Bradley Cooper's 'Maestro' Earns Extended Ovation; Bernstein Family Reacts

Diving deep into Bernstein's life beyond the podium

by Zain ul Abedin
Bradley Cooper's 'Maestro' Earns Extended Ovation; Bernstein Family Reacts
© Theo Wargo/Getty Images Entertainment

Bradley Cooper has once again graced the esteemed Venice Film Festival, this time with his latest directorial endeavor, "Maestro" — a deep dive into the life and legacy of renowned conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein.

The film, five years following the much-lauded premiere of Cooper's "A Star is Born" at the same festival, was met with an overwhelming and extended ovation from an enraptured audience. Notably, due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, Cooper, the heart and soul behind this project, couldn't physically attend the premiere.

Nonetheless, his absence did little to diminish the audience's enthusiasm. During the Sala Grande screening, attendees broke into nearly 10 minutes of applause, highlighting the profound impact the film had made. "Maestro" beautifully showcases Leonard Bernstein's 25-year-long matrimony with Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein, capturing the nuances of their complex relationship.

Carey Mulligan, known for her depth and range, brings Felicia's character to life opposite Cooper’s Bernstein, intensifying the on-screen magic.

Bernstein Family Applauds 'Maestro'

Following the screening, the tribute continued.

Bernstein family members in attendance sustained the applause, echoing the room's general sentiment and approval of the film’s portrayal of their beloved kin. However, it's essential to highlight that Cooper's "Maestro" wasn't just about Bernstein's career but offered a more intimate lens into his marriage to Felicia, a facet that hasn't been widely explored before.

As with many high-profile releases, "Maestro" did face its share of critiques. Some critics focused on the use of prosthetics in the film. Renowned makeup artist Kazu Hiro, responsible for the film's looks, addressed these concerns during the Venice press conference, showcasing the depth and research that went into getting every detail right.

Amidst varying reviews, Pete Hammond, a critic from Deadline, described "Maestro" as a tale that beautifully unravels “a complex story of a man who can’t quite define the intersection of his art and personal life but seems to thrive on the ambiguity...

a towering personality not at all sugar-coated in this compelling take”. Set to stream on Netflix after its runs at both the Venice and New York Film Festivals, "Maestro" already promises to be a must-watch for both fans of Bernstein and cinematic masterpieces alike.

Bradley Cooper