8 Reasons Bradley Cooper's A Star Is Born Is Better Than Maestro – Screen Rant

With two feature films under his belt featuring a passionate musical protagonist, Bradley Cooper has certainly found his groove as a director.
With the release of Bradley Cooper's Netflix movie Maestro, comparisons will inevitably be made to his previous directorial work, A Star Is Born (2018). The two movies share a number of similarities outside of the fact that Bradley Cooper directed and starred in both of them, including the fact that Cooper appears to lose himself completely in both protagonists and their shared passion for creating and performing music. While A Star Is Born focuses more on classic rock and roll, Maestro exists in an entirely different category of classical music.
A Star Is Born earned an impressive eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Actor for Bradley Cooper, Best Actress for Lady Gaga, Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Picture. It won Best Original Song for the memorable "Shallow" which featured an outstanding duet between Lady Gaga and Cooper's Jackson Maine. Maestro has been nominated for four Golden Globes including Best Actor and Best Director for Cooper, providing a solid foundation for a potential Oscar run for him in both categories, as well as Carey Mulligan for Best Actress.
While both Maestro and A Star Is Born have their individual triumphs, A Star Is Born is ultimately the better of the two Bradley Cooper-directed movies. Carey Mulligan's performance in Maestro is exceptional as usual, similar to her outstanding work in Promising Young Woman, Drive, Inside Llewyn Davis, and The Great Gatsby. Lady Gaga's performance in A Star Is Born shouldn't be compared to Mulligan's in Maestro, but it should be noted that Cooper had to fight to convince Warner Bros. to hire Lady Gaga in the first place. With the odds stacked against her, and with little acting experience, Gaga hit it out of the park as Ally.
What's also extraordinarily impressive about A Star Is Born is that it marks Bradley Cooper's directorial debut. In this way, both he and Gaga had much to prove with A Star Is Born, and Cooper demonstrated his undeniable talent both onscreen and behind the scenes as well. Maestro arguably showcases better skill and technique from a directorial standpoint, but this is a natural progression with any director as they gain more experience. While Maestro has some ambitious moments including a sex-minute performance of "Resurrection" in Ely Cathedral that was a reenactment of one of Bernstein's most famous performances, there would be no Maestro if Cooper hadn't excelled as the director of A Star Is Born.
The biggest takeaway from A Star Is Born is by far the original song Shallow that Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper sing together in the film. Without that song, and the quality of the entire original soundtrack, A Star Is Born would likely not be considered as great as it was when it premiered in 2018. Even people who haven't seen the movie know the song "Shallow", which won Best Original Song at the 2019 Academy Awards. As the incredible songwriter that she is, Lady Gaga created a cultural phenomenon with "Shallow" which admittedly is much more memorable, and singable, than Bernstein's brilliant orchestral pieces heard throughout Maestro.
The onscreen chemistry between Jackson and Ally makes up the heart and soul of the film, which adds to the overall impression of A Star Is Born altogether. Cooper demonstrated through his transformative as Jackson performance that he could be a great companion to Gaga's Ally as the more experienced actor. On the other hand, the generational talent that Gaga has as a singer/songwriter also aided Cooper's confidence in singing and performing live, which was Gaga's idea before they started filming. Gaga inspired Cooper to get extensive vocal training and avoid having A Star Is Born be entirely lip-synced.
Maestro focuses mostly on Cooper's Leonard Bernstein while periodically featuring Mulligan in what feels at times like a lead-hybrid role as his wife Felicia Montealegre. Outside of Leonard and Felicia, there aren't many central characters in Maestro outside of occasional appearances from Sarah Silverman and Maya Hawke's characters. A Star Is Born integrates more of its great cast into its story, featuring great supporting appearances from comedy master Dave Chapelle and the iconic actor Sam Elliott, who plays Jackson's dad, Bobby. Anthony Ramos and Andrew Dice Clay also appear in A Star Is Born. Maestro features but underutilizes Matt Bomer who only appears in a few early scenes.
The significance of Leonard Bernstein's contributions to the world of music cannot be understated, as he is considered the first truly remarkable American composer and conductor. While his music is beautiful, profound, and takes on a life of its own, the music in A Star Is Born is much more contemporary and therefore more likely to be listened to once the credits roll. The Maestro soundtrack features almost entirely music by the great Leonard Bernstein, but will likely not be getting nearly as many Spotify streams or YouTube views as "Shallow" and the rest of the A Star Is Born soundtrack.
One of the biggest criticisms against Maestro is that it does not feature much of a structured or in-depth narrative despite being a biopic of Leonard Bernstein's life. Cooper was given unprecedented access into the personal life, family relationships, and even the real-life home of Bernstein, and he was given many of his personal letters to help develop the film. Given all this access and resources, Maestro falls a bit flat in terms of narrative, opting to focus on disjointed moments and anecdotal performances that act more like a collage of Bernstein's life than a complete depiction.
Bradley Cooper's A Star Is Born was the third remake of the Hollywood classic, which had last been done in 1976 with Barabra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson in the lead roles. The 1976 film is widely considered the worst of all the remakes, with Judy Gardland's 1954 version considered one of, if not the, best. With other 70 years between great versions of the film, it was the perfect time for Cooper and Gaga to modernize the classic film. In the case of Maestro, it was also about time that Leonard Bernstein got his own biopic, which would have arguably been better and more educational if Cooper had focused more on telling his story rather than reliving it.
The third remake of the original 1937 film, A Star Is Born stars Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine, an alcoholic Country musician who discovers and falls in love with a young and aspiring singer named Ally, played by Lady Gaga. As Jack helps Ally become famous, their relationship deepens, but his private demons have devastating consequences on both their lives. The film was also Cooper's directorial debut.  

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