TÁR: A Vision Of Self Destruction

What is power? How would you answer it if someone approached you and asked the same question? Sure, you could go for the easy joke about power keeping the lights on and the phones charged, and while that is true, it isn’t what we are looking for. According to Merriam-Webster, the word Power means “possession of control, authority, or influence over others.” I know y’all must be rolling your eyes right now. “Why would he use a dictionary reference like some unimaginative dunce?” Well, I say I don’t care; I’ll do what I want! This is my blog, after all! 

Now back to the topic of power. A person in an authoritative position can often confuse the ideas of status and power. While one could argue those ideals walk hand in hand, I disagree. Just because you have more money, more influence, or even if you are idolized, that does not expressly give you power. You have status. Status doesn’t let you break the rules.

TÁR explores the idea of power and the dangers that come when abused. But more on that later. For now, I want to finally dip into the film, the spoiler-free plot and discuss marketing and acting. The film is written and directed by Todd Field, who has returned to the entertainment scene after taking a break following his 2006 film Little ChildrenTÁR stars Cate Blanchett, Nina Hoss, Neómi Merlant, and Sophie Kauer. It takes place in an undisclosed year but after the COVID-19 lockdown. 

The film officially begins after an almost end-credit fashion. We find ourselves joining Lydia Tár as she is being interviewed in front of a large crowd. Lydia is a world-famous composer and conductor. As the conversation continues, we understand how remarkable Lydia’s career has been. Due to her immense talent and passion, her status has skyrocketed to an all-time high. Her next outing: a live recording of Mahler’s 5th Symphony. An apparent daunting task. One that will boost her own career to unprecedented levels. 

Soon after, Lydia makes her way to a college-level class where she is a guest teacher. During her time, she expressed her love for music and the stories layered underneath each note, among other passion-filled topics. From there on, ego takes control as Lydia begins to resettle in her Berlin life. I should not go further into plot details as I would like to avoid spoilers for the rest of the film. 

Cate Blanchet gives her all in the lead role of Lydia. Every moment and movement is packed to the brim with a different purpose. Subtle gestures, such as small glances to interrupt others’ own motions speak, echo the same themes discussed earlier. Is her grabbing a student’s leg a move to gain power? Or was she just annoyed? Either way, Blanchet makes these subtle inferences incredibly important, whereas a lesser actor may not be able to convey such tones. I would not be surprised if this role wins Blanchet the Oscar. Throughout the film, I felt joy for her own success and then, moments later, heaps of disdain for her actions. For this, the golden statue is already in Blanchet’s hands.

I want to reiterate the theme of power played out throughout the story. But more importantly, how do you, as the reader, define power? How does it affect you? What do you think of those in power? And what would you do differently? I hope you enjoyed the post, and I recommend seeing the film yourself. If you have seen the movie, let me know what you think! But please do so in a respectful manner! I hope you have a lovely rest of your day and that the power you carry stays solely in your court.

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