Title: Tár

Year: 2022

Genre: Drama | Music |

Runtime: 158 min

Director: Todd Field

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Noémie Merlant, Mark Strong


Set in the international world of Western classical music, the film centers on Lydia Tár, widely considered one of the greatest living composer-conductors and the very first female director of a major German orchestra.

Todd Field’s music-drama Tár is positioned in the world of classical music with Cate Blanchett in the lead. As Lydia Tár, she is a fearless, strong, and occasionally eccentric conductor. She’s in a relationship with a woman, rude to colleagues but helps her girlfriend’s daughter with a bully.

It’s a strong character we have to deal with. Like so many other dramas, the diegetic sound plays a major role in the film. What’s most prominent is how vulnerable Lydia is behind the façade of her persona. It’s also interesting how she deals with the conflicts from her colleagues once she confronts them. The film slowly let her career fall while she doesn’t do anything about it, actively.

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The cinematography is spot on, it captures also a sober mood that fits the film. The darkest scenes push the illuminating sense of Lydia’s personality and inner thoughts. The music is enthralling and pinpoints the whole aspects how the story while it progresses. The deviant of Lydia’s irrational behavior comes to a breaking point, even when she can’t do her job anymore.

The editing is the weakest point, making the scenes go on forever. That’s what it feels like. The problem with Field’s directing is the predictions that come. The direct indicates a fierce maestro, but there is no real conclusion. Some scenes feel over-directed. Lydia’s role in the child is never established. The external activities are never shown, only spoken off. We don’t get deep into her character, and few details are revealed. In the end, she has turned everyone against her.

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Cate Blanchett’s dedication to the character is what saves the film. Her rude behavior, her fall as a conductor, the denials, and her fluent German essentially gives this story meaning. The artistic aura of the film, the long talks of exposition in 15 minutes initially doesn’t sell the film. Having a talk for so long might turn the viewer’s gaze away. It’s a slow-burned film with an irrational lead, music-fixating class, and brilliant conducting but never reaches a deeper level of consciousness. It could be something more but ended without a climax, only an escape from reality

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