A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Using a position of leadership and power to lure/force someone into a sexual relationship is deplorable, no matter your gender, sexuality, brilliance, or accomplishments. Film questions the effect of "cancel culture" on art, serves as a cautionary tale about the arrogance of power and the danger of self-importance.
Positive Role Models
Lydia Tár is an impressive example of ferocious tenacity and intelligence. Her achievements are impressive, breaking the glass ceiling for women in her field. As a leader, she's formidable and confident in her decisions and is personally involved in trying to help other women in her field. But she's also narcissistic and lacks empathy, hampering her role model status. A younger character makes a bold choice to do what's right.
Female-centered story in which the main character and many of the women in her orbit are queer. But Lydia is a womanizer who abuses the power dynamic and doesn't seem to feel remorse about her actions. Lydia's adopted daughter is of Syrian descent.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Outburst with hitting and punching. Creepy situations. Moments of peril with alarming sounds in the distance. References to a death by suicide of an unseen character who gains notoriety as the result of ending her own life. Storyline is about sexual misconduct.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
In two instances, two different women are naked in a nonsexual context, one in the shadows. Romantic entanglements are expressed through affectionate touches, hugs, verbal references. One brief blur of ecstasy. Reference to the close relationship between three characters who may have been in a polyamorous relationship. Infidelity. Sex workers.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
A few instances of strong language: "s--t," and "f---ing" used as an adjective.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some abuse of prescription medication. A couple unwinds by drinking wine; one character turns down a celebratory drink during the day.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Tár is a smart, thought-provoking drama that follows the downfall of an orchestra conductor due to sexual impropriety. It's presented as a biopic, but Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett) is a fictional character. The story drives home the idea that using a position of leadership and power to lure/force someone into a sexual relationship is deplorable, no matter your gender, sexuality, brilliance, or accomplishments. The film also questions the effect of "cancel culture" on art. Expect lots of details about the orchestral world, including sophisticated vocabulary and monologues about creating symphonic sounds. The two-and-a-half-hour movie builds slowly; some teens may not have the patience to get to the astounding ending. Most of Lydia Tár's problematic behaviors are suggested rather than shown -- i.e., in verbal references to a suicide and love affairs -- which means the content doesn't get especially mature. But there are two instances of nonsexual female nudity, an outburst where punches are thrown, creepy situations, wine drinking, prescription drug abuse, and strong language ("s--t" and "f---ing"). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.