ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — “Tár,” directed by Todd Field is nominated for six Oscars this year with Cate Blanchett up for best actress. Blanchett recently won a BAFTA for leading actress this past weekend leaving the film with no other winners among its four BAFTA nominations. Although the film does bring light to topics of power, sexual abuse, and media, as a viewer you’re often lost in musical jargon or trying to figure out the meaning behind suspenseful scenes.  

Regardless of the dislike I had for the film, Blanchett displays an incredible performance as renowned conductor, Lydia Tár. Most of the film takes place in Germany where Blanchett often speaks German like she’s known it all her life. Precise conducting led me to think Blanchett was displaying the mannerisms of a real Lydia Tár. I was fully convinced this film was about an actual conductor. To my surprise, it’s not. Field creates the seemingly kind yet complex and manipulative Lydia Tár from his own imagination. I commend Blanchett for learning German, piano, and the ways of conducting solely for this role which she executed perfectly. 

The film begins with a live video similar to that of an Instagram live, of Tár sleeping on a plane. At first, I had no idea how to interpret that but as the film continues, the relevance of the media comes into play. We learn of Tár’s career as a conductor and see her as a successful woman in her field. She wasn’t painted as a villain from the start but, eventually, we see Tár accused of sexual abuse and grooming. The media plays a huge part in this as a falsified, edited video is leaked of her “harassing,” a student. As an audience, we like to think the accusations are false but suspicious dreams and violent actions from Tár suggest otherwise. Since the media is ever so present in our daily lives, I appreciated its involvement and how Tár seemed to get “canceled,” which I don’t think would be far from the truth in the real world, given the allegations. 

Aside from technology, the film is filled with musical jargon that is so convoluted, the first 20 minutes were hard to understand as someone who doesn’t play an instrument or conduct. You could understand the gist but other than that I wasn’t sure what Blanchett and her co-stars were talking about. It didn’t help that the first few scenes involving dialogue were rather long leading to a confused and boring state of mind.

Although the story became more digestible, I think Field created a disconnect with the audience right away by having these conversations between characters not everyone could grasp. I’m not sure if this is intentional but Field creates this disconnect throughout the whole film. Many scenes are shot from a long, distant camera angle, making the viewer literally an observer of Tár’s life. I imagine these angles can be useful where you want to create that distant feeling but most of the time, I wanted to be in the conversation Tár was having. I wanted to see her emotion and expression along with her colleagues. This isolated feeling contributes to the overall tone of the film which seems haunting. We feel as though something is lurking around Tár, and watching her. Maybe that’s why we are distant. Field might want us to feel like or resemble the watchers, waiting for her to mess up so we can report it to the media. If that’s the case, I understand the intention but am not a fan of how it was curated. 

Ultimately, “Tár,” is a story about a person’s downfall. Tár’s manipulation of people gets her to where she wants to go and once she’s there, regard for those people who helped her is lost. “Tár,” touches on how those who are at the pinnacle of their career, can misuse their power and sabotage their success. Although this is an important message, and a story we’ve heard a million times over, the way Field told it left a lot to infer. Unexplained symbols and artful scenes left the audience in contemplation on how they add to the story. 

Blanchett contributes yet another wonderful display of acting leading her to an Oscar nomination and is also up for the SAG award for leading actress which will be announced at the awards ceremony on Sunday, February 26. I would be surprised if “Tár,” were to win in any other Oscar category, especially with the other films nominated. The film will leave you in thought but more so frustration as questions remain unanswered. The relevant topics of power, sexual abuse, cancel culture, and the media are displayed but scratch the surface of their profoundness. 

House Rating: 1.5/5

If you liked this film consider watching, “Whiplash,” “Black Swan,” “Her Smell,” and “The Social Network.” You can watch “Tár,” on Peacock, AppleTV, Vudu, Spectrum, Amazon, and Google Play.