We ended last January watching a film about an imaginary conductor, namely Tár. We closed out 2023 watching this one about a real conductor and composer.
The pure fiction was much more interesting and enjoyable than the biopic.
I noticed early on that we had seen no performers; not shots of the orchestras Bernstein was conducting, or only of them taking a bow. Some of him playing the piano, certainly, but where were the others?
We did eventually see an orchestral performance, with Bradley cooper massively exaggerating a conductor's movements — though that might be an accurate reflection of Bernstein's style.
But as my beloved pointed out today, what was really missing from this film was the music. There is music in it, certainly, but it's not really about the music, or Bernstein as musician, composer, conductor.
It's about his marriages and his philandering, mostly. Which is fair enough. But why, then, call it Maestro?