Maestro parents guide

Maestro Parent Guide

This movie is worth watching for the soundtrack alone, but Bradley Cooper's performance as the gifted composer and conductor as also impressive.

Overall C

Netflix: An exploration of the life of conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, told through his music and his relationship with his wife Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein.

Release date December 20, 2023

Violence A
Sexual Content C
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is Maestro rated R? The MPAA rated Maestro R for some language and drug use.

Run Time: 129 minutes

Parent Movie Review

A complex, contradictory man, Leonard Bernstein (Bradley Cooper) is impossible to pigeonhole. He’s a brilliant composer with an eye for the stage, but he aspires to be a serious conductor of classical music. He’s madly in love with his wife, Felicia (Carey Mulligan), but is constantly tempted into infidelity by every handsome young man who happens past. His powerful personality and staggering talent are enough to keep everything together – but his many contradictions will soon demand that he make some choices about the things that really matter in his life.

Fueled by powerful performances from Cooper and Mulligan, Maestro paints a fascinating portrait of the complex life of one of Americas greatest modern composers and conductors. The film is scored mostly by Bernstein’s own work, which certainly helps, but is also bolstered by skilled technical filmmaking. Being, as it is, a biopic of a composer, the movie isn’t exactly action-oriented, but a compelling script keeps pushing the film along without getting too bogged down in the minutiae or subplot.

There are, of course, some content concerns. Bernstein did not lead a PG-13 life, and the filmmakers aren’t about to claim otherwise. He smokes nearly constantly, and there’s a good deal of social drinking (sometimes to excess) and a brief scene of cocaine use. Then there are his many bisexual affairs, which aren’t portrayed with more than a touch or a kiss, but which are still adulterous. On the other hand, the swear count is pretty low (relatively speaking) and there is no violence of any kind.

It’s unsuitable for family audiences, but Maestro offers a compassionate portrait of a complicated man and his wonderful music. The movie is worth watching for the soundtrack alone, but fans of Bernstein won’t want to miss Cooper’s evocation of the composer either. If you’re somehow unfamiliar with Leonard Bernstein, this isn’t a bad introduction to one of the most significant American musicians in the last century. More than that, it’s a pretty interesting movie. Not a bad deal, if you ask me.

Directed by Bradley Cooper. Starring Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Matt Bomer. Running time: 129 minutes. Theatrical release December 20, 2023. Updated

Watch the trailer for Maestro

Rating & Content Info

Why is Maestro rated R? Maestro is rated R by the MPAA for some language and drug use.

Violence: None.
Sexual Content: Adult characters of varying genders are seen kissing and lying in bed together, but no explicit sexual activity is seen. There are frequent discussions of and occasional depictions of adultery.
Profanity: There are at least nine sexual expletives, several scatological curses, and frequent uses of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen smoking tobacco nearly constantly, and there are several scenes involving social drinking in party environments. Adults are also briefly seen using cocaine.

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Maestro Parents' Guide

For a list of Leonard Bernstein’s compositions, click here.

You can listen to some of Bernstein’s compositions below:

YouTube: The Best of Bernstein

Bernstein was also a noted conductor. You can see and hear him at work below:

YouTube: Mahler “Symphony No 3” Leonard Bernstein 1972

YouTube: Bernstein conducts Elgar – “Nimrod” (“Enigma Variations”) – BBC Symphony Orchestra (1982)

YouTube: Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 – Leonard Bernstein


Home Video

Related home video titles:

A gifted composer and conductor is the subject of Chevalier, a historical biopic of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint Georges. Tár centers on the complicated emotional and professional life of a fictional composer and conductor of a major European orchestra.

Another bisexual musical biopic is Bohemian Rhapsody. Other portraits of popular musicians can be found in films like Rocketman, Ray, Elvis, Tick Tick…Boom!, Respect, and Walk the Line. Moonage Daydream takes on a more documentary approach to David Bowie’s career.