Tár (2022)

tar poster 2022 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Definitely a thinking film with a lot of ideas

Pacing is a challenge and little answers

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Tár

Studio:  Focus Features/Standard Film Company/EMJAG Productions

Genre(s):  Drama/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  September 1, 2022 (Venice Film Festival)/October 28, 2022 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

tar conducting cate blanchett

Conducting a character study of a character of lies…

Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett) is a master at her craft.  She’s world renown and even one of the few people to pull off an EGOT.  With the conduction position at the Berlin Philharmonic, she is on top of the world and trying to close out her career by performing Mahler’s Fifth Symphony as her book Tár on Tár hits the stands.  Unfortunately, Lydia is also mortal.  Over the years she’s had assistants and those in her orchestra that she’s had unprofessional contact with and now one of those students could be her downfall.

Written and directed by Todd Field, Tár is a psychological drama.  The movie premiered at the Venice Film Festival and received positive reviews though some critics were divided by the film.  The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Blanchett), Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Cinematography.

tar lydia mirror cate blanchett

Which Tár is real? Is it possible that none of them are?

Tár definitely is a different film.  Some have simply said it is a cancel culture film, others have said it is anti-woman, and others have even said it is positive for women in its representation of female conductors.  I think Tár is a little of all that and more.  I walked out of the end of the film with a tenseness that was similar to Uncut Gems…not as intense but still unsettling along the lines of Mulholland Dr.  Due to aspects of the story, a *****spoiler alert***** is in effect for the rest of the review.

Film is really a character examination and represents the downfall of Lydia Tár.  Her high riding life seems too perfect and from her opening panel discussion, she gives off an intellectual persona…with an underlying “load of crap” to go with it.  Using flowery language, bravado, and assurance, almost anyone can be an expert…at least if they aren’t challenged.  While Lydia definitely has the smarts, there is something off about it all.

tar lydia cate blanchett

A person storms the stage of at a major symphony and attacks the conductor (who isn’t even a real conductor)…the result will be arrest and internet fame…not quietly retreating to the US

Cate Blanchett’s performance helps a lot.  She does have that sense of power and strength to play the character.  Lydia knows music and Blanchett knows how to hold the audience like Lydia knows how to hold her orchestra.  There are still aspects of the performance that scream “fake” as you watch it (as they are meant to) including her really bizarre accent.  It isn’t Australian (Blanchett’s place of birth) and it isn’t American…it is kind of the upper class generic voice you expect (and as you learn it is a fraud…she’s from Staten Island.  There is an implied idea that must of what Lydia (aka Linda) has said isn’t true…and she pays for it.

The cancel culture aspect of the movie is important but instead of simply being about cancel culture, it is kind of an idea that anyone with power can abuse it.  If the character had been a man, no one would have blinked at the idea of him grooming or abusing, but a female conductor feels like there is a safety to…she faced adversity to get to a position so how could she do it to someone else?  It is anti-woman in that it is an equalized script…the female character is allowed to be just as bad as any male character.

tar dream sequence

A random Asian character in Tár’s nightmare makes you question if these are even dreams…

Tár is a movie about a really unlikeable character who despite being smart isn’t smart enough so there is some schadenfreude in that she actually thinks by simply deleting some emails that no records will exist…and that probably can be said of her past as well.  Is what was seen for the whole first part of the movie reality?  A lot of the whole last act feels suspect in that Lydia’s past is coming back to haunt her and there are definitely some supernatural unexplained elements to the story (where did the manuscript go, who messed with metronome, what’s Olga’s deal, who’s recording on their phone, etc.)…leading a question to what’s in her mind and what isn’t.  Maybe Lynda is not seeing a means to scrape by and continue her love by conducting a Monster Hunter score in the Philippines at some fan-con.  Maybe it is as good as it gets for Linda “Tár”…if that is even reality at all.

Related Links:

The 95th Academy Award Nominations

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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