TÁR (2022)

Directed by Todd Field

Renowned musician Lydia Tár is days away from recording the symphony that will elevate her career. However, Lydia's elaborate facade begins to unravel, revealing dirty secrets and the corrosive nature of power.

What if Tár is indeed a "regressive film that takes bitter aim at so-called cancel culture and lampoons so-called identity politics" whilst also a critical portrait of the self-absorption of those who promote that narrative? I mean, its almost as if the film is precisely calibrated to generate Discourse.


Its speculative setup thwarts the moralistic style of reception that has become dominant probably in large part due to the prevalence of biopics. This mode of reading encourages audiences to assess the quality of fictional texts as if they were evaluating the political/ethical decency of real people and views, like Jesus separating the sheep from the goats. That Tár seems real but isn’t tempts us to reach for our pitchforks/op eds and then cleverly forces us to question the very instinctiveness of that move.

Asa Seresin


After Lydia’s life disintegrates, she retreats to her childhood home on Staten Island, one filled with plastic trophies and certificates awarded to a Linda Tarr. (The exoticization of her name is evidently a sore spot for her brother, who does not greet her warmly.) That this woman is from somewhere seems self-evidently bizarre. She is her résumé, a clot of influences and self-consciously chosen rites. The irony is that, for all her railing against the reduction of 18th-century composers to their demographic categories, this is clearly how she views the people whose cultures she flattens into internships.


Field’s script does not mean to litigate whether the allegations of sexual impropriety and professional misconduct against Lydia are true, or whether the professional consequences she suffers are proportional. It relies instead on the audience’s familiarity with the rhythms of these celebrity cancellations.

Paul Thomspon (Los Angeles Review of Books)