TÁR ★★★★

wanted to add more because the way this movie is being discussed seems to sidestep completely its actual merits and its actual faults. Tar's argument with the Juilliard student is emblematic - Field treats it as less a culture war ethnography and more a theatrical moment of self-sabotage on Lydia's part, as she refuses to stop performing "Tar" for even the moment it would take to form an honest and equitable connection with the kid, who is portrayed as reactionary, for sure, but intelligent and genuinely intimidated as well, that might enable her to share her passion for the music he instinctively rejects. tellingly, Field describes the scene in diachronic terms in interviews, as Tar having a conversation with a younger, less calcified version of herself, and failing to reckon with her own intellectual genealogy. this refusal to pass easy judgments in a way that would pander to any dogmatic ideological camp is the film's second greatest virtue, its first being a deliberate, fungal commitment to creeping forward into what it is directly in front of the camera (the notable exception being the later scene with the edited video of the Juilliard confrontation, which struck me as false and the only major weakness of construction here). we never get a true action shot of Lydia conducting a masterpiece, only snippets and abortive rehearsals, and she never truly experiences more than a moderate humbling - barry lyndon this ain't. while i suppose you could take issue with the film's lack of an overall thrust, denying us a cheap sense of action or the opportunity to be impressed with the director's sophisticated takes on the issues facing Our Society, why would you? every other english language movie you see in theaters this year will have both in spades. you're missing nothing

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