dan’s review published on Letterboxd:
for a film about classical music, directly drawing inspiration from bernstein's own democratising performances of mahler, it's remarkable how passionless and stale the spaces and interactions in this film feel. and yet that is precisely the film's strength
the world it portrays is devoid of energy and instead we see the life tár has constructed; a world of petty politics, procedure, and the abuse she can exercise within it. everyone and everything feels suffocated by tár whose own narcissism and toxicity is slowly made visible.
throughout the film i kept expecting to see something that was 'true' to the music that tár was conducting or what we can call her artistic spirit. perhaps something that would show how much she loved her work. but as film goes on, we see there is nothing at all and this is an entirely miserable affair for everyone. even the snippets of mahler are brief and interrupted throughout.
early in the film, tár explains to a student that "you got to sublimate yourself, your ego, and, yes, your identity. you must, in fact, stand in front of the public and god and obliterate yourself" when conducting. it is at least interesting to watch the rest of the film progress with a character who is in total opposition to that idea. and frankly, i love the ending for mocking just how full of shit she is.