Cate Blanchett plays Lydia Tár as a charming, authoritative, magnetic, and terrible person. We’re fully immersed in the life and perspective of a deeply unpleasant person and there’s a complex catharsis as the film charts her downfall. Todd Field makes us feel not sympathy but maybe empathy for Tár even as we’re disgusted by her many abusive actions. Cinema at its best encourages us to explore complex and complicated feelings and TÁR is at once delicate, considered, and forceful.
From its opening moments, the film signifies that it’s a reversal, discussing men’s abuse of power through the absence of a powerful male protagonist. Tár being a woman lets us feel a complex empathy that the audience would not feel for a man. If Tár were a man, the film would be flattened into a film about Louis CK or Harvey Weinstein which would be a disservice to the complexity of the film’s actual exploration of abused power dynamics.
(Full review available on Cinetopia podcast: https://anchor.fm/cinetopia/episodes/January-2023-on-EHFM-Reviews-of-Tar--Enys-Men--Saint-Omer--EO-and-an-interview-with-Sean-Lonadh--director-of-Too-Rough-e1tj9h7)