Midday Movies: 'TÁR' is a film to be thankful for
With Thanksgiving coming up, here's a film to be thankful for: "TÁR."
Thanksgiving always makes me think of two things: sharing a huge meal with family, and remembering what to be thankful for. So with that in mind, I ask you to consider the recent film "TÁR." This is a meaty, substantial film that will fill you up and give you ideas to chew on.
The film centers on conductor Lydia Tár, played by Cate Blanchett. The role was created for her by filmmaker Todd Field and is a showcase for the actress. We meet Tár at the pinnacle of her career and then watch her spiral out of control. Along the way, the film asks us to consider the relationship of an artist to their work, how power and privilege can be dangerous, and look at the role cancel culture plays. All of this happens without ever telling us what to think or how we should feel about Tár.
I will admit that not everyone is appreciative of this film. When I exited the press screening, my friend was so angry that she had to spend almost three hours with a character she deemed 'horrible' — she was fuming. We ended up discussing the film in the parking lot for almost a half hour since I could have easily spent another three hours with Blanchett's Tár. But her anger is part of what I appreciated about the film. It provokes people and gives you something to discuss and debate. That is so much better than walking out of a movie and being consumed by discussion of where to eat and then ten minutes later you can barely remember what film you saw.
I will confess that the idea for this discussion about "TÁR" came about because my Midday Movies partner Yazdi Pithavala, of Moviewallas, could not stop talking about the film and loved its complexities in the same way I did.
He enthusiastically texted me that he was so glad someone was making a film that was so "unapologetically cerebral." Then he added, "This is what cinema should be, and we have so lost our way."
Since we were both giddy in our appreciation of the film we decided to assess some of its virtues and complexities in the hopes that we could encourage a few adventuresome filmgoers to seek it out and savor its difficult but deliciously fascinating main character.
"TÁR" will be playing at AMC Mission Valley and AMC La Jolla today and tomorrow, and it's well-worth seeing — and HEARING in a cinema — and then will be available for streaming on Amazon, AppleTV, YouTube and other platforms.
There will be a longer discussion of the film on Cinema Junkie's special Thanksgiving episode on Wednesday.