MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Tár - In Theaters
Directed by Todd Field
Starring Cate Blanchett, Noémie Merlant
How can I enthusiastically describe a film with a one-word title in ways that might persuade you to spend 2½ hours in a movie theater watching an epic film without superheroes? In 500 words or less?
1. Tár is a mockumentary about an American classical conductor/composer named Lydia Tár (Blanchett), filmed as a fly on the wall character study.
2. Tár is also a satire; a black comedy; a tragedy; a psychological horror film; a film about classical music; a commentary about power/cancel culture/#metoo/social media/gender inequality/and class.
3. Tár can be described using a phrase first uttered by Winston Churchill: A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
4. Tár is 158 minutes long and begins by making the audience sit through about 8 minutes of credits (supporting crew, special effects, etc.) that most people walk away from after a film has ended. The closing credits are 3 minutes long and primarily list the dozens of real musicians who participated.
5. Tár then features a 10-minute interview between Lydia Tár and Adam Gopnik (a staff writer for The New Yorker playing himself) in which we learn much about her rise to international acclaim. (We also are given our first hints that appearances can be deceiving.)
6. The film includes much live classical music, including small ensembles, large orchestras, and solo cello (played by the musician Sophie Kauer in her first film role as Olga, a Russian cellist). We also hear snippets of Lydia Tár’s works, composed by Hildur Guðnadóttir.
7. Tár could be rated PG-13 if it weren’t for a scene involving the nudity of an ageing woman with dementia.
8. The first hour of Tár is primarily informative. The second hour advances the plot. The last 20 minutes are a provocative coda with a memorable ironic/tragic/funny closing shot.
9. Writer/Director Todd Field wrote this film specifically for Cate Blanchett before he asked her to play the part. Blanchett spent a year learning to conduct, play the piano, and speak German.
10. Cate Blanchett and Todd Field deserve all of the acclaim and awards that Tár will inevitably receive.
11. Remember to hold the “a” key on your computer down while pressing the “2” key to produce the accented letter “á”.
Tarnation! Words cannot begin to describe one of the best films of 2022. You just have to listen to the music, too.
Halo and Pitchfork Rating:
Three halos: A nuanced character study and morality tale that rewards the patient viewer with much to enjoy and ponder.
Two pitchforks: A few occasions of swearing; Nonsexual nudity; schoolyard bullying; intimations of offscreen abuses of power.
Do you have comments about this movie or movie review? E-mail your comments. (Your name and UM affiliation must be supplied in order for your comments to be posted.)
Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
COMMENTS! Do you have comments about this movie or movie review?
E-mail comments. (Comments will be posted to our web site.)
The East Ohio Conference Office:
located in North Canton, OH,
near Akron-Canton Airport.
8800 Cleveland Ave. NW
North Canton, OH 44720
Local: (330) 499-3972
Toll Free: (800) 831-3972
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
© EAST OHIO CONFERENCE. All Rights Reserved.