TÁR ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

femme whiplash 😍

EDIT to say:

In my work meeting this week, I found myself heartily endorsing TÁR — "Oh, I loved TÁR. Really good." A coworker who hadn't seen it piped up — "oh yeah, isn't that the anti-Me Too movie?" The line hits well. I can understand the allure of the easy summary. A movie about a predatory lesbian written and directed by a white man, starring a magnificent performance by a straight A-list actress whose best performance of recent memory happened to be in a Woody Allen movie. Nuclear stuff when it comes to assembling the almighty take.

I stumbled over how to respond — "That's a little simplistic. It's more about the grey area." Not a great defense, but "anti me too" is somehow worse than pigeonholing TÁR as "movie about cancel culture." The exploration of misogyny and power dynamics by no means clears Tár's culpability. It's her inability to confront her perpetuation of the spiritual deterioration of young bright women that drives her to ruin, to vomiting at the Thai massage parlor in disgust at her the place in the hierarchy. It follows her everywhere, permeates the invisible cracks between all her beautiful things, until those things become less beautiful.

TÁR could be from any other perspective — a quiet, incisive movie like The Assistant (2019) comes to mind, which documents the broader fall out of systemic abuse perpetrated by high status individuals in creative positions. But I think its impact comes from its dedication to Tár's perspective.

I recently had a friend on here uncovered to be a bit of a monster, a torrential artist who preyed without apology on those drawn to his flame. You mourn these friends who turn out to be something else entirely. You mourn the grandeur of someone who somehow had all these other wonderful qualities. But through it all, the thing that repulsed me most as time elapsed from the truth coming out was the depth of his denial — the pure avoidance of the fallout of the scope of his smallness, his willingness to use people, admirers, for his sexual gratification and the fanning of the flame of his inflated ego. The response of disengagement, making his world absurdly small, hiding and disabling out of any accountability.

TÁR finds terrors in the minute, the errant humming of the fridge. The imminent fear of something big and fragile about to collapse, actively collapsing. And when it falls, it's not all at once, but in waves. An assistant quits. A colleague says something concerning. Tár can feel herself slipping, but it's never enough to upend the ego. If American Psycho is about the mental unraveling of someone who can't get caught, TÁR is about what happens when you can.

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