Maestro (2023) Review – A biographical masterpiece

By Romey Norton
Published: December 20, 2023 (Last updated: December 23, 2023)
Maestro (2023) Review
Maestro (2023) | Image via Netflix


A stunning picture, showcasing an artist’s complicated and compelling love for music and his muse.

Some of the most poignant films in cinema are biographical dramas, as they’re based on real people with vast amounts of history for audiences to read and investigate once finished watching. Maestro (2023) is a Netflix film that should go down in history as one of the best biographical dramas to hit our screens for its first-class, compelling acting, impressive script and storytelling, and clean style and shot sequences. 

The film centers around the relationship between American composer Leonard Bernstein and his wife Felicia Montealegre, starring Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan as the two impressive leads. Produced by Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Bradley Cooper, and others, the film also stars Matt Bomer, Maya Hawke, and Sarah Silverman. With an impressive array, what more could you want?

Maestro (2023) review and plot summary

Maestro is beautifully shot — classical continuity with sweeping shots, it’s not static like we’ve seen in many recent films. These gentle movements help the smooth transitions of the scenes, mirroring how a piece of music is composed and played. 

The film’s early sections are shot in luminous black-and-white, and as the years evolve, the monochrome is replaced by rich color. It’s a beautiful, effective transition, which allows the audience to show the progression of time, and how long Leonard lived, expressing change and transformation. 

There are some interesting choices — for example, there’s a scene where Leonard and his wife are having a heated conversation, they’re in the distance and we can barely see them through their beautiful garden. The sunny landscape is picturesque, whilst their conversation is serious. It’s an interesting choice as we don’t get to see the actor’s facial expressions at all, but have to focus on their words. Almost like being sat at the back of the theatre. 

RELATED: Is Bradley Cooper really playing the piano in Maestro?

Black and white shots always make audiences reminisce about the classic Hollywood era, and with the extravagant orchestral music the film is sure to bring nostalgic emotions to its viewers. 

Bradley Cooper is a world-class actor. After seeing him on the West End in The Elephant Man, I knew he was someone who had the rare ability to truly transform into a character, and this film is a terrific example of that. From the opening scene, I was hooked, completely drawn in.

Carey Mulligan is elegant and sweet playing the beautiful wife, and can carry the drama and emotions well. Together, she and Cooper have an undeniable chemistry in each scene. Silverman and Bomer steal their scenes as always — small parts, not small actors. 

Is Maestro worth watching? 

The film might be two hours but with a solid pace it plays like a dream. What I enjoyed about Maestro is how it gets to the nitty gritty, the heart of what artists go through. The truth behind the phrase “suffering for your art”, and the choices they have to make. It also shows the harsh realities of what practitioners put their families and loved ones through, for their art, their successes and failures, and the toll it can take on them. 

This story is an important one and I’m thrilled it’s been made. Maestro is an award-worthy masterpiece of cinema that you should invest your time and energy in. It’s a film about love, romance, and a relationship with a woman and with music.

A final note: I can see this becoming a theatre production very easily.

What did you think of Maestro (2023)? Comment below.

RELATED: Maestro (2023) Ending Explained

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