Is Tár Based On A True Story? – Trending News

Is Tár Based On A True Story?

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Tár’s take on the gradual downfall of conductor-compose, Lydia, feels far too real, which makes it hard not to wonder if it’s based on a true story.


The movie provides such an in-depth look at its title character, that it’s not always clear whether Tár is based on a true story. Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of the conductor Lydia Tár certainly helps to lend an air of verisimilitude to the sometimes shocking tale. As Tár interrogates many cultural questions surrounding sexual politics and the misuse of power, such relevant topics of today, it’s easy to assume that Tár is a true story.

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Tár‘s opening scene, in which a real New Yorker journalist recites Lydia’s long list of musical achievements, immerses a viewer into the main character’s world by highlighting how she is at the pinnacle of her career. With what follows, Cate Blanchett gradually turns Lydia Tár into a three-dimensional character by adding many complex layers of contradiction and corruption to her narrative. With all of these gripping revelations surrounding Lydia’s storyline, Tár seems more like a biopic than a work of fiction. Owing to this, it is hard not to wonder whether the blurry lines between reality and fiction have real-life inspirations.

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Tár Is Not Based On A Real Person

Tar Cate blanchett

Even though Lydia’s fall from grace in Tár seems real, the movie is not based on a real orchestra conductor’s life. However, it is easy to be tricked by Tár‘s marketing and demeanor that ingeniously sell it as an Elvis-esque music biopic. Even Tár‘s official plot synopsis (via Letterboxd) — “set in the international world of classical music, centers on Lydia Tár, widely considered one of the greatest living composer/conductors and first-ever female chief conductor of a major German orchestra” — comes off as the description for a real artist’s biopic, propagating the movie as an orchestra conductor’s biography.

In all of its deceptive realism though, Tár does draw inspiration from the real world. For instance, as director Todd Field explained in an interview (via Vanity Fair), the Julliard scene, where Lydia criticizes a student, parallels the director’s experiences from a brutal film school class. The impetus behind the scene, as Field recalled, also comes from a universal conundrum: “What would your older self tell your younger self?” In another interview (via AwardsWatch), Field talked extensively about how he took guidance from a music conductor, John Mauceri, which explains why the 2023 Best Picture Oscar nominee’s depiction of music direction stays so close to reality.

Why Tár Is Marketed Like A Biopic

Cate Blanchett TAR
Cate Blanchett in Tár

Even Wikipedia had a page dedicated to the figure of Lydia Tár (via The Cut) but it was later relocated to be a part of the movie’s main page. All these provisions made to sell Tár as a true story suggest that it was intentionally marketed as a biopic to initially lure viewers and later keep them invested in Lydia’s turbulent narrative. Considering Cate Blanchett’s brilliant performance and Todd Field’s directorial forte, Tár likely would have garnered critical acclaim even without all the marketing gimmicks. However, Tár‘s illusive true-story motifs evoke a viewer’s curiosity and serve as a window to the real world.

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