Best New Movies

Tár – Film Review

Tár – Film Review
by Fran Winston

Directed by: Todd Field
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Noémie Merlant, Nina Hoss, Sophie Kauer, Julian Glover, Allan Corduner, Mark Strong
In cinemas January 13th

This movie arrives on our shores baking in massive critical acclaim and more than a few awards but also with extremely poor box office Stateside. I imagine that people who don’t enjoy classical music might think this story of a world-renowned female conductor’s fall from grace might not sound appealing, but this is about far more than the music. Instead, it is a wry observation of cancel culture and gender politics.

In a much-lauded performance, Blanchett plays Lydia Tár, the first female chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. When it comes to her career she is hyper-focused and possesses an enviable talent and intellect. Unfortunately, her penchant for abusing her position in order to seduce younger women comes back to haunt her, as does a rather unfortunate incident when teaching a masterclass, in which she manages to offend the entire woke generation. With her relationship with her wife in tatters and her career in the gutter, she is forced to reflect on how she got to this point as her life unravels.

Blanchett’s performance is a tour de force. Frantic energy juxtaposes with more thoughtful moments in a superb character study as she spirals out of control. Everyone else is secondary to her. Indeed, it could be said that the supporting players are mere pawns in her story, which is appropriate given the narcissism of the character.

While this is a work of fiction it would be easy to mistake it for a biopic as it is so truthful, raw and authentic. Don’t dismiss this as highbrow as it is in fact an incredibly complex work that requires your full concentration. Every minute detail feeds into the story, but if you can retain your focus, your patience will be rewarded. It turns the Me Too movement on its head and gives plenty of food for thought. Provocative and challenging, this is a fascinating study of the dark side of fame and the high price of erotic obsession.




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