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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Tár': An Intensive Rendering of a World-Renowned Musical Composer's Precipitous Fall from Grace

Movie poster for the 2022 film Tár

Tár is a remarkably assured psychological drama starring Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tár, a world-renowned musical composer and chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. Highly reliant upon personal assistant Francesca (Noémie Merlant) and wife Sharon (Nina Hoss), Lydia enjoys great success while preparing for a landmark recording of Mahler's 5th Symphony.

Lydia is introduced as an inexhaustible stalwart of high society, yet beneath her steely veneer lies the soul of a predatory svengali—quick to coerce and ridicule in order to preserve her carefully constructed image. After a former protégé levies allegations of improprieties against her, Lydia begins to come unglued—bedeviled by nightmares, chronic pain and discordant sounds. Further accusations ensue as she scrambles to take hold of her sanity—all the while obsessing over young virtuoso Olga (Sophie Kauer) and clinging to adopted daughter Petra (Mila Bogojevic).

Written and directed by Todd Field (In the Bedroom, Little Children), Tár is a riveting tale of self-destruction. Field makes a rare appearance behind the camera (helming just his third film in over 20 years) and delivers an absolute knockout with this tale of brilliance run woefully amok. Blanchet, for her part, is simply extraordinary in her presentment of self-possession, seductiveness and abject toxicity. A must-see cinematic experience, the film's darkest tones are balanced out by its sheer capacity for both enthrallment and fascination.


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