This movie wants you to believe it has thought all thoughts, but ultimately says nothing new about classical music or abuse of power
Thank you for writing this you articulated SO much of what I felt when watching this. I’ve been tearing my hair out trying to make sense of why this is considered a good film!
Wow, you really, really didn't get it. It's not ABOUT any of those things. it's a characters study.
You make some great points about the movie, but I will never understand film criticism that is based on "what the movies should have done is this..." "why didn't the film explore ...?". Like it touched you personally on some level and it's making you confront your beliefs, and you don't like what you're confronted with. It's not really about metoo, not really about classical music or debates about how relevant a composer is, like you hint at in the last paragraph. This film has been marketed a certain way, but it's more in line with films dealing with dreams, consciousness and mystery. And finally a movie about music that isn't played out like one about sports! (being competitive, winning, rehearsing until you pass out...). It's a movie about a musical fraud at the highest level (she's a composer, yet unable to write anything during the film for example), she changed her identity and background completely as we find out and finally breaks down when listening to Bernstein speak truth about what music is really about.
It's interesting, what you say about the film "implicitly declaring [Tár] the victor." I don't know about that. For example, in the Julliard scene we don't see any student recording her. But it comes as no surprise when later the video surfaces. I imagine that omission is an artistic decision that makes us second guess ourselves. How, when, and why do we trust the camera? What do we miss when we're so captivated by this, as you suggest, oversimplified showdown between identity and institution? Beyond who we want to win, why do we want a verdict?
Maybe there's more to it. Is it possible that the film is doing something other than offering up issues to take positions on? That it's asking us to engage not just with art but with our responses to art, too?
I liked this piece! It got me thinking. Thank you!
The predatory lesbian is another pernicious stereotype this film trucks in that I thought we were done with, but apparently not. I agree with your review and thank you for writing it.
Very nicely written. When discussing the demographics of repertoire, with the aim of showing the underrepresentation of women or minorities (which has historically unquestionably been the case but often for reasons willfully overlooked) I’d love to (and extremely rarely do) see a distinction made between performance now, today, of works created by the living, whose lives are profoundly and daily impacted by underrepresentation, of all identities. Statistically, in terms of the numbers of living composers of certain group identities (so painfully and destructively divisively deemed to be so significant) in these discussions, there is very rarely an honest or accurate full picture of what is going on and the reasons for what is going on.