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Cate Blanchett stuns as the celebrated classical conductor whose uncompromising views and troubling private life threaten the world she has built.
As the film’s opening scene, an interview with real-life journalist Adam Gopnik, details, Lydia Tár stands atop of the world. A world-renowned conductor – the principal of the Berlin Philharmonic – Tár’s reputation paints her as ferocious as she is beloved. She doesn’t suffer fools or sycophants. Her teaching methods are uncompromising. And every facet of her life is lived on her terms. But cracks are emerging in her idyllic, trans-global existence. A student is outraged by her condescension. Colleagues are tired of their maestro’s brusqueness. And stories surface of personal relationships the likes of which have destabilised other respected figures in the music world. Lydia races to plug the fissures, but is the image she has committed her life to forging already beyond salvage?
Todd Field’s drama has quietly become one of the year’s most divisive talking points. He takes aim at both sides of the culture wars and in doing so has attracted acclaim and outrage in equal measure. At the heart of the drama is Blanchett’s committed performance. Her unwillingness to portray Tár as either hero or villain of the piece centres the film’s ambiguity towards its protagonist. In doing so, the actor has created a character who entices as much as she outrages. It’s an impressive, award-winning performance at the heart of a film that challenges as much as it entertains. See it to make up your own mind