The Trailer for Netflix's Leonard Bernstein Biopic 'Maestro' Is Here – Kveller
Skip to Content Skip to Footer


The Trailer for Netflix’s Leonard Bernstein Biopic ‘Maestro’ Is Here

Bradley Cooper stars as the legendary Jewish composer in this snippet from the upcoming movie.


The first trailer of the Leonard Bernstein biopic “Maestro,” directed by and starring Bradley Cooper, is finally here, and it looks like a pretty touching ode to the beloved Jewish composer.

The movie centers the connection between Bernstein and his wife, actress Felicia Montealegre, played by Carey Mulligan — arguably the most central and important figure in Bernstein’s life. It follows the couple throughout the years, starting in black and white during the early days of their infatuation, after meeting at a party in 1946, and Bernstein’s early career, and turning into grainy color as the years progress along with Bernstein’s rise to fame. The two are seen, over and over again, in the park (Central Park, most likely, as many of the movie’s scenes were shot there, as well as in Bernstein’s old home), sitting back to back, talking to each other, trying to guess the number in each other’s mind — a sort of exercise in intimacy.

“We need to build up a very strong connection,” the regal actress responds when asked how long they need to sit like that.

“I’m thinking of a number,” he tells a giggling Felicia decades later, and when she can’t guess, he reveals, “It’s two, darling, like us as a pair, two ducks in a pond.”

Bernstein is known now for his affairs with men, which are hinted to in the trailer, as he caresses a man’s arm at a party and later is seen kissing him in a hallway — it’s possibly Tommy Cothran, played by Jewish queer actor and “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” favorite Gideon Glick.

Yet his connection with his wife was one of his life’s greatest guiding forces; he was never the same after her death from lung cancer in 1978.

Cooper has gotten some pretty heavy criticism for wearing facial prosthetics in the movie and for not being Jewish; Bernstein was the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants and his Jewish identity was a pivotal force in his career. Yet, when I spoke to Leonard Bernstein’s eldest daughter, Jamie, last year, she told me that she really didn’t care if Cooper was Jewish or not — or even about his fake nose. Instead, she told me how moved she was to see her parents played by Cooper and Mulligan — that there was something uncanny and emotionally resonant in seeing them breathe life into her parents’ lives and story.

I’ll admit, watching the trailer, there’s something a little jarring about seeing Cooper, whose face we all know so well, with the longer nose and sharper chin of the artist, but it’s undeniable that he looks and sounds like the great maestro.

The movie does have a lot of Jewish and queer representation — and a lot of our favorite stars in it. Sarah Silverman, who helped coin the term “Jewface” about the issuse of non-Jews playing Jewish characters, is playing Bernstein’s sister, Shirley. Actress Alexa Swinton, who you may know as Rock from “And Just Like That…” plays Bernstein’s daughter, Nina, and spoke to Kveller about how much she loves Bernstein and working on the project with Cooper, who she felt truly inhabited the role. “Stranger Things” star Maya Hawke plays Jamie Bernstein. Jewish actress Miriam Shor plays actress Cynthia O’Neill. Michael Urie plays Bernstein’s frequent collaborator, the Jewish ballet, theater and film maven Jerome Robbins. Actor Matt Bomer is also in the film in a yet unnamed role. Kate Eastman plays actress Ellen Adler, the daughter of Stella Adler. And Sam Nivola plays Bernstein’s son, Alexander.

“Maestro” is coming to theaters sometimes in November, and will be streaming on Netflix on December 20. After watching the trailer, I can say that I’m really looking forward to seeing this film about one of this nation’s greatest Jewish composers and conductors, though I do sincerely hope that his Jewish identity and roots get some time in the spotlight, as well.

Skip to Banner / Top Skip to Content