Cate Blanchett solidifies herself as the frontrunner for the Best Actress Oscar with a perfect performance despite Tár’s fumbling of the core plot.
In the film, Lydia Tár (Blanchett) is a conductor at the top of her game, preparing for a monumental performance that is preceded by weeks of turmoil and a slow dismembering of her seemingly idyllic life. Tár is an unbalanced, lengthy film that takes its time introducing the audience to Blanchett’s character without any intriguing plot development occurring until the late in the second act. Blanchett is phenomenal, her performance a subdued, yet emotionally rich portrayal that keeps you engaged even when the story gets stuck in the mud. The way in which writer/director/producer Todd Field establishes Tár’s world is perplexing in that, for the majority of what is presented, you’re still looking for the meat of the story. It’s almost as if there is an expectation that the viewers will trust that everything presented matters, but the film beats you down with highly sophisticated dialogue that will be foreign to those outside of the specific conductor community. By the time I found myself invested, long into the runtime, the film ended and I conflictingly wanted more and wanted to walk away at the same time.
Tár attempts to tell a story revolving around modern cancel culture with sprinkles of the #MeToo movement that are not given much depth and exploration. Blanchett wows in every scene, especially as her life falls apart piece my piece, but she stands on the crumbles of a half-baked script. Visually the film is beautifully shot, the technical aspects all excelling, presenting Field’s project in exceptional style. Overall, however, Tár has a pretentious attitude that cements the film as one of those that is likely to go over the heads of average moviegoers, yet be red meat for critics who trust that a larger meaning is present. WIth this one, I’m not sure we ever satisfyingly get there.
Tár is now playing in theaters.