Push aside the commentary on cancel culture. Remove the artist from the composition. What is left is a piece of wonder. TÁR hits home in many ways. As a classically trained musician, you rely on the conductor to keep control of the time. You find that Cate Blanchett’s character, Lydia Tár, is in control. Until that control slips away.
Certainly, the slow burn is mixed with an absolutely fantastic score. Like I should’ve watched this in theaters. My home soundsystem wasn’t enough for the immensity of the orchestral works.
While you can watch it as a icarus story, it’s more a character study to Lydia Tár and the people in her world. There’s her partner, played by Nina Hoss, whose performance is like the voice of reason. The assistant, played by Noémie Merlant, who you don’t trust from the opening scene, and you must wonder if her performance is restrained by Lydia’s prescense. All that to say, is Lydia too cold? Too calculating? Too manipulative? And of course, does she deserve what’s coming to her.
The use of montage is excellent, underscoring what doesn’t really matter to the audience and what really does matter to Lydia. The art and the performance. She lives and breathes classical music. And one ultimately too consumed by her work. I’ll be revisiting Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.
An absolute recommendation, but be prepared to be patient. Must Watch.
I’m a big fan of Alex Ross’ books, ”The Rest is Noise” and ”Listen to This”. His latest book, ”Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music” is apropros to this film and puts some context to understanding the dichotemy with social justice with the artist and the artwork.
Find it streaming through JustWatch.