Parents' Guide to

TÁR

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Blanchett is outstanding in long #MeToo drama with nudity.

Movie R 2022 158 minutes
movie poster for Tár (Focus Features, 2022)

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 13+

"Tar" is one of the most interesting films I have seen and is one I will be thinking about for a long time. The first thing I find interesting is the world of European composers. At the beginning of this film Tar is in a n interview and she is talking with the interviewer about various historical composters I have never heard of and references to things I know nothing about and that just continues throughout the film. But rather than disconnecting me from the film it makes me enjoy it more and throughout the first half of the film we learn so much about the world Tar resides in, and it is truly fascinating how much these people care about music conduction, and it really teaches the audience how important the composer is to a piece and how much power they have. Another that built up at the beginning is that Tar's gender isn't important to who she is and i think that that idea may be the most important part of this film because Tar can truly be anyone, swap Tar's gender and the character stays pretty much the same. Which is important to making the idea of cancel culture and abuse of power more universal and that anyone can be a perpetrator of it. Tar is also having some very interesting ideas about separating the art from the artist. This idea is explored most at the beginning when Tar is teaching a class and one of the students says that he doesn't like Bach because he is a misogynist, and the student says he can't support someone who does that. Tar immediately shuts him down and argues that we should not judge these great artists work for who they are as a person. But later in the film when the accusations about Tar come out, she isn't allowed to preform anymore, and she loses all respect she had as a composter. this is an interesting issue and one that has many real-life comparisons, for example J.K. Rowling is transphobic and because of that people argue that you should not read her books or buy anything Harry Potter related or people not going to see The Flash after the film's star Ezra Miller kidnapped a teenage girl. People always talk about separating the art from the artist, but this film argues that in the world we live in today it is impossible to do so. Another idea this film deals with is the misuse of power. Tar gives a new girl who joined the orchestra a solo simply because she likes her, and the rest of the orchestra can't do anything because if they do, she will fire her from the orchestra and as we see in the past Tar destroyed the career of a young woman because she tried to report Tar's indecent behavior towards her. Easily the best part of this film has to be Cate Blanchett's performance, her ability to convey so much so subtly is quite impressive and she is just such a powerhouse of an actor that she is able to take control and become the focus of every scene without even saying anything. This is especially important because this film would not have worked if Cate Blanchett had merely given a good performance, this entire film is built on Cate Blanchett and every other area of filmmaking is working to elevate her even more. All this results in not just the best acting performance of the 2020's so far but maybe one of the best ever.
age 15+

2.5 hours of fantastic Blanchett character work

There is no wasted shot in this film. The film runs 2.5 hours and Field and Blanchett do not waste a single moment. Going into this film I had heard that some thought this film was ambiguous in how you are supposed to feel about Lydia Tár. I didn't think that was true. I thought it was clear in every scene that Blanchett was telling us exactly who her character was. I did not think it was subtle or ambiguous. Field's direction offers scene after scene that offers another complex layer, plausible deniability and hidden in plain sight questionable behavior. When we finally peel the layers we encounter someone who had to create from scratch and when the film ends...well that is one of the most memorable endings that I did not predict. This is a film that needs to be experienced and takes the audience on a ride with a front row view of Blanchett's fully committed performance.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Patience and a receptive brain are required to fully engage with Blanchett's searing portrait of a highly successful woman who's in tune with everything but herself. As Tár's world building begins, writer-director Todd Field immerses viewers in Lydia Tár's environment, where a five-syllable word is chosen over a simple one every time and names of concertos and prestigious musicians are discussed at length. The niche setting and initially slow pace (the film opens with the full credits -- catering, production accountant, the whole shebang -- on a black screen) will undoubtedly strain the spirit of antsy teens, even those interested in the topic. But once the film gets past establishing Tár as a genius beyond measure, the pace picks up to the point that the long run time isn't felt.

Blanchett is almost always magnificent, but here she proves herself an absolute master of the craft. As a maestra, she wields the baton, speaks about musical technique, and plays the piano with cogency. And Lydia Tár is a complete original: A female character who's deeply complex, utterly unrelatable, intriguing, mesmerizing, and reprehensible. This is a #MeToo story told from the point of view of the powerful predator. If the main character was a man, audiences might not want to sit with the character for nearly three hours. But it's hard not to question the choice of telling this story from a lesbian's point of view. Cinema has often vilified queer characters, and, by and large, most crimes of sexual coercion and abuse of power are still perpetrated by men. The movie market isn't yet saturated with these stories, so why paint a woman as the Weinstein of the classical music world? Field's film is excellent, and Blanchett is exceptional, but it's hard not to worry that the attention that will undoubtedly accompany such a remarkable piece of work will undermine public perception of a historically underrepresented, often maligned group of women.

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