Movie: “Tar”

As I have mentioned many times, I love classical music. So, I was more than happy to watch Cate Blanchett (age 53) star in “Tar,” which was written and directed by Todd Field (age 59), who wrote the movie exclusively for Blanchett.

“Tar” tells the story about Lydia Tar, who is a fictional world famous composer and conductor. She has an impressive resume, which lists conductor positions with the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and finally the Berlin Philharmonic. While in Berlin, she rehearses Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, which is to be recorded. To accompany this work, she decides to also include Elgar’s Cello Concerto. Meanwhile, her marriage to Sharon, the Berlin Philharmonic concertmaster, unravels as Tar is romantically linked to Krista, an aspiring conductor, who commits suicide, and to Olga, who is the soloist for the Elgar Cello Concerto. Her scandalous lesbian relationships result in her being dismissed as conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic and ostracized from Europe and America. Devastated, she ends up conducting an orchestra in the Philippines.

Outstanding story and performance! I can see why “Tar” has received so many Oscar nominations. For this movie, Cate Blanchett had to learn how to play the piano, conduct, and speak German. She emotes as she conducts the orchestra during rehearsal, striving to wring every nuance from the music.

These are photos I took of scenes from my TV.

Lydia Tar conducts the Berlin Philharmonic during rehearsal of the Mahler Fifth Symphony:

See how she emotes while conducting:

This is Tar’s wife, Sharon, who is also the concertmaster of the orchestra:

This is Olga, who is the soloist for the Elgar Cello Concerto. Tar is attracted to her sexually:

Tar ends up conducting an orchestra in the Philippines, having been ostracized from Europe and America because of her scandalous lesbian relationships:


I have always felt that music expresses what words cannot possibly express. Music touches the soul. It brings joy. It brings sorrow. Music is never boring. It’s there to touch the listener in such a deep, poignant way.

We loved “Tar” so much that we ordered French cellist Jacqueline du Pre’s recording of Elgar’s Cello Concerto. We look forward to hearing it. We already have Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.

Further, I ordered a set of violin strings from Amazon. My E string broke and has to be replaced. I shall soon be playing my violin again. Yes, my right rotator cuff has healed sufficiently to play.

As you can see, “Tar” has inspired me as a violinist and as a music lover. It’s definitely worth watching.

We saw it on Peacock, but it is also in theaters.

17 Responses to “Movie: “Tar””

  1. DavidH Says:

    That was an amazing performance and movie. It is easy to see why Cate Blanchette has already won both the Golden Globe and Screen Actors guild awards for best actress. This movie inspired me to pay for Peacock now that my free subscription has ended.

  2. tomthebackroadstraveller Says:

    …keep the music playing.

  3. marmeladegypsy Says:

    I am SO glad your rotator cuff has improved and you’ll be able to play again, Gigi. That’s the best news of this post, although I really appreciated your review. We weren’t going to the movies when this hit and I’m hoping I can find it on a streaming service. I know we both would love it. (And I love the Elgar, too.)

  4. Christine Says:

    Thanks for the recommendation

  5. Fools Rush In Says:

    I am planning to watch this today on Peacock. Love Cate Blanchett. Thank you for the review.

  6. Iris Flavia Says:

    I really feel sorry I gave up the piano.
    I love how Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé sang together. Or Pavarotti… He sure was there in hard times when drawing the nights through towards diploma (I am so old I did the technical drawings by hand!)…

  7. DeniseinVA Says:

    I am happy to read that you will be playing the violin again. I know it brings you joy. Thanks for the great review of this movie. It sounds very interesting. Cate Blanchet is a great actress.

  8. Valerie-Jael Says:

    I haven’t heard of this movie, but it sounds Good! Have fun with your violin. Valerie

  9. Elephant's Child Says:

    I am glad that you enjoyed it – and even gladder that it has inspired you to go back to playing the violin.

  10. dkzody Says:

    Inspiration comes from all areas. Glad that the music inspired you.

  11. Doug M Says:

    Gigi I just saw the trailer for this on Peacock Sunday night! I should have known it would be right up your alley. 🙂. I enjoyed your review, I’m going to try and watch it this weekend. I hope it’s not too high brow!

  12. Beatrice Says:

    I appreciated you review of the Tar film, Gigi, as I will be seeing it towards the end of this month, Free at the local library. It’s part of the library’s Recent Releases viewing. I was not familiar with the film, until a fellow resident told me she wanted to attend the library viewing and now we will go together.

  13. Tom from Sightings Says:

    Good news that you’ll be playing again. And it’s good to know that a movie can still inspire us.

  14. Nancy Chan Says:

    Glad to know that you are able to play your violin again. I have not heard of this movie.

  15. AC Says:

    Sounds like a good flick. With Cate Blanchett it is almost sure to be.

  16. David Gascoigne Says:

    I have always felt that music expresses what words cannot possibly express. Music touches the soul. It brings joy. It brings sorrow. Music is never boring. It’s there to touch the listener in such a deep, poignant way.- Perfectly stated.

  17. DJan Says:

    It is on my list of movies to see before the Oscars. Thanks for the review.

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