Tar – Movie Review

The Luxembourg Philharmonie- not unlike the one on the film.

I saw the trailer for this intriguing movie the other week on Youtube. It was apparently about a fictional maestro who led the Berlin Orchestra. All I knew from this was that there was some controversy over the character’s treatment of other musicians. Nonetheless, I was inspired enough to watch this Indie project and now write my own Tar movie review.

I should mention that I really enjoyed the director’s last film – Little Children – which starred Kate Winslet, but this was back in 2006. Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett are my all time favourite actresses so it was fun to see Todd Field move from working with one to the other.


What is Tar about?

Lydia Tar is a fictional conductor of the Berlin orchestra who gives masterclasses in being a Maestro. Her stick waving is outstanding and was inspired by her mentor, the famous Leonard Bernstein (West Side Story composer).

Cate Blanchett has already won a Golden Globe and BAFTA for the lead role in this film. Her portrayal of a tough and incredibly intelligent musician is amazing! Married to Sharon and being father to Petra, Blanchett’s character is a parent you wouldn’t mess with.

Lydia began the movie arguing with a University student as he refused to play a particular movement due to the composer being a misogynist. She pointed out that most composers had social issues and he stated that they were usually white and privileged. Quite a political debate to kick the movie into gear.

In a Nutshell

Lydia was apparently flawed by great musicians and she also had a weak spot for attractive young women. Her wife was used to her flirting with members of the orchestra. A past acquaintance stirred up a mess which gradually interrupted her busy career.

At the same time, a new cellist created a stir and caught Lydia’s eye. I should stop there before I say too much.

The Luxembourg Philharmonie – not unlike the film location

Positive Points

– The 2 hours 38 minutes go by relatively quickly, despite the conversational style.

– Cate Blanchett is a chameleon. She can change herself into so many forms. Here she becomes a talented orchestra conductor convincingly.

– The supporting cast were excellent too!

– I learned a lot about how an orchestra works.

– Todd Field (director) filmed this in a very beautiful way. Long takes and lingering cameras made this a piece of wonderful art.

– The script was engaging and covered controversy, LGBT+ issues and specific classical music terminology.

Final Thoughts

I was hoping this film would be worth the hype and IT WAS. I was pleased with the way the narrative played out. It was fascinating learning about a conductor and her orchestra. The awkwardness of the way she got too close to certain players gave the story a twist.

Film rating ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

This was a world class conductor played by a world class performer – Cate Blanchett. I would totally recommend watching this movie on Apple TV or Prime Video. It is well worth a watch.


Thank you so much for reading my Tar movie review. For another of my film reviews, take a look at Shotgun Wedding: Is it worth the hype?. Perhaps also consider following my little blog for similar future articles.

A Man Called Otto – Film Review

As I have mentioned previously, I am trying to go to the cinema more often than usual, especially as so many award nominated movies emerge. Following my review of Empire Of Light, I decided to pop along to my local movie theatre and check out ‘A Man Called Otto’ today.

What Drew Me To This Character-Orientated Movie?

Tom Hanks was promoting ‘A Man Called Otto’ on the Graham Norton Show the other Friday when it first caught my imagination. Apparently an adaptation of a Swedish novel – ‘A Man Called Ove’ by Fredrik Backman – this story was about an older man who was rather miserable and full of spite. Some new neighbours moved into his street and tried to soften his character slightly. The premise was interesting and I knew Tom would portray the lead role brilliantly.

Otto protected a little street like this.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97% audience score

A Sweet Narrative

Otto had lost his wife recently and was pushed out of his job, taking a severance payout and entering retirement reluctantly. He lived in a street where the parking was protected and he made sure that only those with permits dared to park in his street.

The neighbours knew that he did his daily ‘rounds’ and tried to engage with him despite his sour mood. The reason for this grumpy attitude was exposed later in the story. Needless to say he had a fairly harrowing backstory.

A family moved in and started to offer him food parcels and company. Marisol (played by Mariana Travino) was superb as a chatty, pregnant neighbour who wouldn’t take no for an answer and was determined to bring a smile to his tired face.

Recurring Theme

While Otto was constantly trying to find ways to kill himself and join his wife beyond the grave, amusing circumstances disturbed his plans and kept him busy. Marisol worked hard at bringing some fun into his world and giving him something to care about.

A set of challenges faced by other neighbours made his life more difficult still. Otto’s narrative was wonderfully outlined by a good script and careful direction. Tom’s wife, Rita Wilson, persuaded him to make the movie version of the book and she also came on board as producer. Similarly his real-life son – Truman Hanks – who played a younger version of Otto, did a brilliant job. He was the spitting image of his famous father.

Things I liked about it

– Incredible acting by the lead actors

– A flowing storyline with carefully placed nuggets of information that enhanced the narrative.

– Clever direction with emotional flashbacks.

– It had moments of real humour.

In A Nutshell

I laughed and cried whilst watching this wonderful story unwind. Hanks was amazing in this role and Mariana deserves an Oscar for supporting actress too. In my opinion, it was really well written and the different elements fitted together superbly.

I would give this movie a five star review and totally recommend going to the cinema to see it. Now I will have to go and read the original book.

If you found this review helpful, please comment below and consider following my blog for future book and TV reviews as well as environmental articles. A recent TV review I wrote, which might grab your attention, was focused on House of the Dragon.

If you have Kindle Unlimited, perhaps you would like to check out my original short stories. I would appreciate some reads to celebrate the fourth birthday of my book Short Dates. Thank you so much for checking out my bookish blog,

Empire of Light – Film Review

Winter is movie award season, with the Golden Globes, Oscars and Baftas, so usually the really interesting films come out around this time. So I have been going to the cinema fortnightly in order to keep up with all of the recommended pictures that have been arriving. And yes, I love nothing more as a blogger than to write a film review each time.

This is actually Scarborough but looks like the film setting of Margate.

This weekend I was lucky enough to go and see a Sam Mendes film. After his epic 1917 war movie where he told a story using just one camera, a harrowing narrative at that, I knew his new one would be worth a watch.

What Was It About?

Olivia Coleman led it as a schizophrenic woman who worked front of house in a 1980s cinema. She was joined by a solid cast, including newbie Michael Ward and her creep boss played by Colin Firth.

Mendes also wrote the screenplay and told of how Hilary (Olivia) was very depressed and living a very mundane existence until a new guy started to work at the old Empire cinema. Stephen (Michael) was fun and intriguing so she soon latched onto him and was quickly smitten. At the same time, she observed racism against him by motorbike gangs (apparently Mods and Rockers).

Acting Prowess

Olivia played her role with skill and her performance definitely stood out. I would say it was her best acting yet – and she already has a high standard back catalogue. Michael was outstanding as the likeable ticket collector who was charismatic and torn. His dreams of going to university had been put to one side but he was determined to make the most of everything by dancing, having fun and making the most of life.

In A Nutshell

I enjoyed the film which was 1 hour 55 minutes long but felt shorter. It has mixed reviews as it is very much a character drama. Don’t expect action and adventure. I found it sweet, well written, nostalgic and it handled mental health cleverly. People were easily misunderstood or misjudged on the 1980s and there was little support available for mental health problems.

Final Thought

Check out Olivia Coleman’s beautiful film if you get the chance. Meanwhile, perhaps consider following my blog and dropping a comment below or checking my Matilda review. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review.