Tár (2022)
November 5, 2022 8:55 PM - Subscribe

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 first-ever female music director of a major German orchestra.

This is a movie for the attentive viewer—sometimes it almost seems to be trying to slip important bits of information past you, and occasionally seems to withhold it entirely. It doesn't give any easy answers, it doesn't have pat moral lessons. Brilliant acting by Cate Blanchett in the title role.
posted by adamrice (12 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm very excited to see this! I worry from what I've read that it supports the idea that great artists need to consume other people to be great artists, but again I haven't seen it. Not giving easy answers as you say can mean a few things, and I hope it's not about the ambiguity of her consumption being worth it for the art, and more about the boundaries of relationships etc.
posted by Carillon at 12:34 AM on November 6, 2022

This is beautifully and skillfully acted, written and directed. Sound direction is very strong, and the art direction is thoughtful and contributes to the plot and emotions. Cate Blanchett is working at the top of her game. It is, without question, a great movie.

But I didn't like it. I question why this story, why now, why with a woman lead. Why does the story need her to fail so spectacularly and to punish her so hard?
posted by jeoc at 6:14 AM on November 6, 2022

My acting teacher saw this and said that the first 20 minutes were good but then it became really tedious, and the only reason the first 20 minutes were good was because of Cate Blanchett's amazing performance. She also said she thinks the lead role was originally written as a straight man but was changed to a lesbian woman, but that clearly no one showed the revised script to an actual lesbian because Blanchett's character says things a lesbian would never say (my acting teacher is a lesbian, and this is the fifth time I've written lesbian in this sentence). But as I haven't seen the movie, nor am I a lesbian(6) woman, I have no opinion yet.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:17 AM on November 6, 2022 [4 favorites]

From what I've read, Todd Field (the writer/director) wrote the role specifically for Cate Blanchett.
posted by adamrice at 11:45 AM on November 6, 2022

Cool, I didn't realize this was a Todd "In The Bedroom" Field (also the piano guy in "Eyes Wide Shut") movie, apparently his first since 2006.
posted by rhizome at 2:19 PM on November 6, 2022 [1 favorite]

From what I've read, Todd Field (the writer/director) wrote the role specifically for Cate Blanchett.

I believe that -- my acting teacher has her own idiosyncratic views on how lesbians behave, I'd wager :)
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:29 PM on November 6, 2022

As an actual lesbian, I didn't think the dialogue was off, but if your acting teacher shares examples I'd love to hear them and reconsider. We were captivated and have watched it 1.5 times so far. We only made it halfway through last night because we hit pause and discuss WTF was actually going on. It's timely, relevant, skillful, and cerebral. I hope more people watch and chime in because I'd like to know what others think. We found this spoiler-filled article on Slate to require a second viewing.
posted by 10ch at 12:03 PM on January 2, 2023 [5 favorites]

Did she fucking steal her wife's Metoprolol and take it w/o a prescription!??!? I'm on Metoprolol and I could fucking die if someone took it from me. Also of course hilarious that because it lowers heart rate, she was like conducting her wife's heartbeat, an obsession with controlling the time of others. Though I think it was perhaps just being inconsiderate.

Laughed out loud when the mother-in-law appeared with her gray clothes and basket of gray yarn.

Did Lydia ever play the piano in her actual house? It was in darkness like moonlight and gleamed like a coffin.

I'm not sure what the significance was of like the flame candelabrum; on the inside of the metronome cover, in her daughter's play-dough, in a big brass sculpture in her house. Was it fire, like Krista's hair, idk.
posted by fleacircus at 1:00 AM on February 1, 2023

We found this spoiler-filled article on Slate to require a second viewing.

Interesting! Thanks for the link. I guess the things that looked flame-like to me are mazes.

Dingit the very first shot, where Francseca is video-texting Lydia asleep on the plane, the first word of the chat to appear live is "haunted".

In the nominee movies I have seen so far this one seems to reward attention much much more than the others.
posted by fleacircus at 8:36 AM on February 1, 2023 [1 favorite]

I keep thinking about the strand of scenes towards the beginning where:

1. Lydia picks out an album cover, from a vast field of choices. It's too many choices, it's a makes-you-think-does-the-world-really-need-more-of-this number of choices. Francesca's foot approves intimately.
2. Francesca goes to have the exact shirt the guy in the album cover is wearing constructed, from scratch.
3. (At some point I forget the order) she is sitting with her big book in front of a mirror admiring herself in the same pose.
4. When the photographer wants to take a picture for the album she says, "How about something less considered?" (!) and suggests that pose. The assistant sneaks a peek of the album cover on her ipad to see how it looks.

Also some article or tweet I saw pointed out she uses a famous brand of expensive pencil.

For someone who is so worried about roboticism she is awfully emulative.

I think it has a couple interesting angles. It does criticize like her kind of feminism; what is the point of just reproducing a man, with all the bad things that come with that?

But also, a couple times (when it comes to composers being shitty dudes perhaps) the movie offers the argument, "What does that have to do with B flat minor" (or w/v). What does that have to do with the music? Yet meanwhile, Lydia's life is full of ambition and striving and enjoyment of status and so forth, and yes all the exploitation of women too, and what does that really have to do with the music?

And so in the end she is shorn of all those things. She can put on her headphones and concentrate on the music, all that other stuff that doesn't have anything to do with the music is gone, but is that really what she meant when she was lecturing at Julliard.
posted by fleacircus at 8:16 AM on February 6, 2023 [2 favorites]

I hated this movie. No one talks like this. Why was this written this way? I’ve been around really smart people—-scholars, Nobel prize winners, prime ministers—-no one talks like anyone in this movie. I’ve never seen anyone behave or speak like Tar did in the classroom scene, and I’ve been in academia for over a decade. It was not entirely clear what was going on at any given time.

Cancel culture and separating the art from the artist are incredibly boring topics.

Pretty fucked up IMO to replace powerful straight man behavior with a powerful gay woman. Like, yes of course that type of abuse is about power but it’s 90% about men in this world.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:52 PM on March 9, 2023 [1 favorite]

Well, she is a big fraud.
posted by fleacircus at 12:00 PM on March 10, 2023

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