Netflix viewers were thrilled on Wednesday as the highly anticipated film, Maestro, was finally released on the streaming service. The biopic, which follows the longtime relationship between conductor-composer Leonard Bernstein and actress Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein, has been generating buzz since its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, where it received a 7-minute standing ovation.
Despite the film’s positive reception, it has not been without controversy. Starring Bradley Cooper as Leonard and Carey Mulligan as Felicia, the film has been heavily criticized for the use of makeup and prosthetics to transform the actors into their characters. In particular, Bradley’s prosthetic nose, which was used to portray the iconic Jewish composer, has been called out for resorting to ‘Jewface’ stereotypes and the casting of a non-Jewish actor in a Jewish role.
Despite this backlash, fans of the film took to social media to express their excitement for Maestro’s release. Many were eager to see Bradley’s transformation and praised the film’s artistic direction. However, the makeup artist responsible for the controversial prosthetic, Kazu Hiro, expressed his regret for any hurt feelings, stating that he and Bradley’s goal was to portray Leonard as authentically as possible.
While the controversy surrounding the film has been a source of distraction, Bernstein’s children have come to the defense of the filmmakers. In a statement released to Vanity Fair, they praised Bradley for his commitment and joy in bringing their father’s story to life. They also expressed their approval of the use of makeup and prosthetic to enhance the resemblance, stating that it was a testament to the filmmakers’ dedication to their father’s legacy.
Maestro’s release on Netflix has been met with much anticipation and excitement, despite the controversy surrounding it. Fans of the film are eager to see Bradley’s transformation and to delve into the story of Leonard and Felicia’s enduring relationship. And while the debate over the use of makeup and prosthetics continues, the film has already proven to be a critical success, receiving an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.