Bradley Cooper traded in his guitar for a baton in Netflix’s Maestro, a musical biopic about world-renowned composer Leonard Bernstein. While the film touches on Bernstein’s musical accomplishments, Maestro focuses on the relationship between Bernstein (Cooper) and his wife, Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan). Maestro is co-produced and directed by Cooper from a script he co-wrote with Josh Singer.
As one of the most anticipated Netflix movies of 2023, Maestro is finally available on the popular streaming service. In honor of Maestro’s release, you should check out these three films similar to Cooper’s newest movie. Our selections include a love affair between two musicians, a groundbreaking musical film, and a biopic about a French composer from the 18th century.
Before watching Maestro, revisit Cooper’s first directorial effort, A Star Is Born. Like Maestro, Cooper assumed nearly every title in the production – star, co-writer, producer, and director. Knowing what we know now about Cooper’s decision to make a film about Bernstein, A Star Is Born was his trial run for a story about the price of making art, the cost of fame, and the complicated love between two artists.
A Star Is Born, the fourth feature adaptation of the romantic drama, chronicles the love affair between aging musician Jackson Maine (Cooper) and unknown singer Ally (Lady Gaga). After a show, Jackson stumbles into a bar and discovers Ally singing La Vie en Rose. Jackson invites Ally onstage at his next concert and then brings her on tour, launching her into the spotlight and raising her profile. As Ally’s career skyrockets, Jackson’s personal life plummets as he struggles to cope with his demons and past trauma.
To the mainstream audience, Bernstein’s most famous work is West Side Story, the 1958 Broadway musical that transported Romeo and Juliet to modern-day New York City. Bernstein composed the music while Stephen Sondheim wrote the lyrics. Three years later, West Side Story was adapted into a film, where it went on to become the gold standard for movie musicals.
Directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, West Side Story centers on a turf war between two rival gangs – the Jets and the Sharks – on the Upper West Side. Tony (Richard Beymer), a former member of the Jets, and Maria (Natalie Wood), the younger sister of the Sharks’ leader, fall in love at a school dance. While Tony and Maria grow closer, outside forces and their respective allies try to tear these star-crossed lovers apart. West Side Story was a landmark achievement for musicals, as the film went on to win a record-breaking 10 Oscars. Steven Spielberg adapted the musical in 2021, and it went on to receive seven nominations at the 2022 Oscars.
Stream West Side Story on AMC+.
Speaking of famous composers, the life and career of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges received a feature film adaptation in Chevalier. Kelvin Harrison Jr. stars as the titular Chevalier, the illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner. Saint-Georges begins to climb the social ladder within French society because of his expertise as a violinist and composer.
Saint-Georges’ musical prowess attracts the attention of Marie Antoinette (The Pale Blue Eye‘s Lucy Boynton) and Marie-Joséphine de Montalembert, with the latter becoming his lover. Saint-Georges aspires to become the director of the Paris Opera, but the racial divide and a budding revolution threaten to destroy his life.
Stream Chevalier on Hulu.
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