Mozart In The Jungle is a comedy and character drama that aired on Amazon. It is based on the book, Mozart In The Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music.
When the show opens, we are introduced to the very eccentric Rodrigo (Gael Garcia Bernal), who is replacing the popular maestro, Thomas (Malcolm McDowell). Although Rodrigo is a genius, he is very unlike the old maestro in that he is very reckless, unorganized, and doesn’t much care about the fame that comes with being the maestro of the New York Symphony Orchestra.
Hailey (Lola Kirke), an oboe woodwind player, has come to New York to further her career. She shows up late for an orchestra audition, but decides to perform anyway. She gets very lucky because Rodrigo is still in the symphony center making out with his assistant, Sharon (Jennifer Kim). He overhears Hailey playing and becomes very intrigued with her, he instantly asks her to join the orchestra. During her debut she fails to impress Rodrigo and the symphony, she leaves feeling embarrassed and thinking her dream has come to an abrupt halt. She later returns to the symphony center to pick up her paycheck and Rodrigo overhears her confronting Sharon about her recent failed performance. He intervenes and begins to console her, then decides to her as his personal sidekick. Her life is getting ready to take a ninety degree turn because she is going to be pulled into Rodrigo’s strange and crazy world.
Rodrigo becomes distracted, when he finds out that his idiosyncratic wife, Anna Marie (Nora Arnezeder), is coming to New York. He seeks her out to try convince her to perform a violin solo for the orchestra’s opening night. She agrees to do his biding and he attempts to have sex with her, only to find that she is wearing a chastity belt. Will Rodrigo be able to tame Anna Marie enough to get an amazing performance out of her?
Meanwhile, Thomas becomes deeply depressed, after his retirement because he feels useless. He spawns out of control and takes off to Cuba to escape his old life, but his former lover and cello player, Cynthia (Saffron Burrows), is determined not to allow him to wallow in his own pity. Will she be successful in bringing Thomas back to New York?
Will Rodrigo be able to control his weird and sexual urges for his wife and stay focused on the symphony and it’s needs? Will the orchestra be able to overcome it’s financial position and perform in a way that will pull larger crowds to their live performances?
Mozart In The Jungle is definitely a good watch especially if you enjoy the symphony/concerto genre. It was a joy to watch Gael Bernal as Rodrigo because he is definitely a very interesting character, but at times he appears to have no musical talent at all, which is a turn off. Although this film is nothing like the real life symphonic scene, which is a very uptight, cutthroat group of individuals, it is very entertaining. I have to give Amazon credit for taking such a risky step in making Mozart In The Jungle because you never know if viewers will be pulled into this type of genre.
There are some downsides to Mozart, as well and the most noticeable flaw that sticks out like a sore thumb is the fake instrumental performances. I wish whomever did the cast list would have taken enough time to hire individuals that really knew how to play the instruments. Also, there are some very predictable scenes that you know are coming a mile away. The dialogue is okay, but again we are forced to listen to some cheesy moments.
I wish the episodes were a tad bit longer because with their short time frame the entire episode seems to be so rushed. It would have been so much better if the episodes lasted at least forty minutes or more so and we should have been given a briefing of why Rodrigo was chosen to replace Thomas. This series deserves a 7.5 out of 10.