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.