It is disconcerting, even confusing, to see who is behind Maestro, the film nominated for an Oscar in several categories: Actor, actress, film, original screenplay, photography, sound. Directed and starring Bradley Cooper, it even defuses the issue if we see that the producers are Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Cooper himself.
The Sonata is a biopic of the musician and conductor Leonard Bernstein, a legendary artist who managed to penetrate high and popular culture thanks to his forays into television and film. The feature film has the Netflix narrative, it was made for this platform and that says a lot. I have published it on other occasions and the issue is becoming more and more evident, it is already a trend in the industry: super productions of flat narrative and television rhythm that have the luxury of having their delicacies, but on this occasion, they insist on being elegant, pretentious. Sequence shots that change time and space to adorn a close-up story made for Cooper’s brilliance in the role of Bernstein.
But let’s be balanced, Bradley Cooper as the conductor of an orchestra who delivers a sonata made to be recognized and awarded in his intentions is evident. Hypocrite he is not and he has the merit of him in the direction of actors, where he and Carey Mulligan as the long-suffering and sneaky wife of the musician Felicia Montealegre, take the cake. The performances at the service of a flat work, very pretentious and hollow at heart.
The truth is that there is no excuse, even in the narrative made for television language good works can be produced. And even more so if we take cinematic metafiction as a theme. An example is “The Battle for Citizen Kane” (Benjamin Ross, 1999), released by HBO and which over the years has occupied a very good place among the cinephile claque. Or not to go any further, the one also nominated for an Oscar a few years ago mank (Fincher, 2020). Teacher It is an Opus with a hollow and strident sound that is enriched with elaborate dialogues and focuses on Bernstein’s sexual duality in the society that goes from the late forties to the late eighties.
Genius and temperamental from the beginning of the film, the Bernstein character, an impeccable creation of Cooper, has deep moments of depression, emotional explosions and it is clear to one that this is the first shot of television. Bradley Cooper as a director has a job but we are not faced with A star Is Bornremake of the classic of the classic that he directed in 2018 and that, with everything and its excesses, had its moments of rapture.
Teacher, also focuses on his love relationship with his wife, the Chilean actress Felicia Montealegre, and his family life, amidst his bisexual condition. He does not delve too deeply, rather than a decision it seems a deliberate omission, into the character’s environment. Cooper is monothematic and adorns his shortcomings with dialogues loaded with deep digressions of the characters. Impossible in the creation of a real-fiction.
The drive of the artist, his condition as an alternate entity of society. The duality of the family man and the creative being remain as a mere advertisement that sins due to its shortcomings that are presumed in the midst of the gesticulations of an orchestra director -Cooper- who in the end delivers a work that is hollow in rhythm, cadence and form. .
Bradley Cooper gives himself a great role, he does it very well. Neglect the work. That doesn’t make him a true artist.