We take a look at what critics have been saying about Todd Field’s film starring Cate Blanchett.

The Guardian: ***** “No one but Blanchett could have delivered the imperious hauteur necessary for portraying a great musician heading for a crackup or a creative epiphany. No one but Blanchett has the right way of wearing a two-piece black suit with an open-necked white shirt, the way of shaking her hair loose at moments of abandon, the way of letting her face become a Tutankhamun mask of contempt. Her performance will pierce you like a conductor’s baton through the heart – although the real-life conductor Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, has complained about the apparent parallels between her own life and Tár’s, and there has never been any suggestion of wrongdoing in Alsop’s own career.”

Evening Standard: ***** “This is the bleakest and funniest film about systemic sleaze since Promising Young Woman.”

Culture Whisper: **** “Despite Field’s elegantly reserved writing and direction, TÁR wouldn’t be the same movie without Cate Blanchett. The Lord of the Rings actor is perfect at playing rulers, and she reigns over Lydia’s orchestra with the same holy command as Galadriel over Lothlórien. Even the cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister (Pachinko) falls under Blanchett’s spell, his camera orbiting the actor like she’s the centre of a musical universe.”

Empire: ***** “Field’s filmmaking is cool, detached and imbued with dread, the director seemingly taking cues from his protagonist: the images are as controlled and calculated as Tár, hinting at hidden turmoil beneath the carefully composed surface.”

The Telegraph: ***** “In Todd Field’s superb return to directing – maybe the first cancel-culture thriller – a conductor’s life grippingly spirals out of control.”

Time Out: ***** “It’s the refreshing treatise underpinning this provocative, often uncomfortable but always mesmerising character study. That people are messy and complicated and should always be understood, if not excused. As Jean Renoir noted, everyone has their reasons. Tár’s are just more messed up than most.”

The Upcoming: ***** “Tár is a fascinating cinematic experience, dripping with style and substance in its critical examination of the world through the captivating lens of its troubled protagonist. It is directly demanding of its audience, inviting them to participate in wider cultural conversations with a careful and considered voice. Without spoiling things, it also deserves a look for the most surprising use of Monster Hunter iconography in any media.”

Variety: “The movie starts off as the chronicle of a magnetic, brilliant, difficult artist navigating a sea of career drama. Then, just like that, it evolves into another kind of movie — a study in what can happen when social media, the death of privacy, and a merciless new public morality conspire to hold someone, in all their flaws (including some rather monstrous ones), up to the light.”

Rolling Stone: “It’s difficult to pin this movie down as a study of any one idea, however, because for all the ways that Fields has written a sturdy, straightforward drama about a problematic artist’s fast track to an imminent downfall, he’s also found ways to stitch a rapid succession of related ideas — about the white maleness of the classical canon (which Tár does not take for granted as a problem, exactly), generational attitudes towards art, cancel culture, and the like, and on and on.”

Hollywood Reporter: “Tár marks yet another career peak for Blanchett — many are likely to argue her greatest — and a fervent reason to hope it’s not 16 more years before Field gives us another feature. It’s a work of genius.”

Irish Times: ***** “Todd Field’s tremendous film is not exactly about cancel culture. But there are opportunities for the easily provoked to jump on board one bandwagon or another. Opportunities are, however, not the same things as invitations. Here is a work of art set at an unfashionably equivocal angle to contemporary discontents.”

Tár is released in cinemas on the 13th January.

13th January 2023.

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