Cate Blanchett’s stunning performance in Tár has fans questioning whether gay composer is real

Cate Blanchett as gay conductor Lydia Tár in Tood Field's drama film Tár

Nominated for three Golden Globes and tipped for an Oscar nomination or two, Tár is one of this year’s most hotly anticipated queer movies, led by the one and only Cate Blanchett. 

But if you finished the film’s trailer excited to learn more about Lydia Tár, you won’t be the only one disappointed to find out that the iconic composer is in fact fictional.

Marketed as a biopic about world-renowned, EGOT-winning composer-conductor Lydia Tár (Blanchett), the film follows the run-up to her live recording of Mahler’s 5th Symphony, a career highlight, while her life and ego slowly unravel. 

While Tár is not based on a true story, certain elements of the film do give it the feel of a real biopic – the film opens with a live New Yorker interview Q&A by Adam Gopnik, who plays himself, a film device often used in adaptations of real celebrity’s stories.

Blanchett also spoke to real conductors before taking the titular role, claiming she met a conductor who has perfect pitch and can hear sounds most humans cannot.

The actress and lesbian icon told W Magazine: “I was speaking to a conductor who I really admire, Simone Young, and she has perfect pitch but with that gift comes the downside that she hears the dog whistle noises that most humans don’t.”

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Writer and director Todd Field explained that the confusion over Lydia’s character may come because she feels so real to him. 

“She kind of appeared about 10 years ago to me,” he told Vanity Fair

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“I understand, in a fashion, why people do think that she’s real because she’s very real to me and has been for a long time. 

“I wasn’t sure that I would ever be able to sort of share her with anyone because everything that I’ve been adapting for however many years has been based on underlying material, where the characters have been imagined by others. But here she is.”

When is Tár released?

The film was released on Friday, 13 January 2023 in the UK in cinemas only after being released in the US in October 2022.

Tár is available exclusively as a theatrical release, meaning it has not yet found a home on any streaming platforms. 

Who is starring in Tár?

Field is said to have written the film specifically with Blanchett in mind as the lead character.

Blanchett told W Magazine: “Todd sent me this script, and I inhaled it. 

“Todd was a musician first, so there was a musical quality to the script, and not just because it’s set in the classical music world.

“It could just as easily have been about an architect or a painter or a writer—anyone in a position of top institutional power, and the way that being in that position gets in the way of their sense of self and ability to relate to people.”

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Other stars of the film include Noémie Merlant as Francesca, Lydia’s assistant, Nina Hoss as Lydia’s wife Sharon, and Mila Bogojevic as Petra, Lydia and Sharon’s adopted daughter. 

Has Tár won any awards?

Tár looks set to be a big hitter this awards season after being nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Blanchett.

The film won several Golden Globes including for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, for Blanchett, and Best Screenplay.

Tár has already won awards from the Venice Film Festival, National Society of Film Critics, the American Film Institute, and more.

Cate Blanchett has won Best Actress awards for the film from Venice Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, Chicago Film Critics Association, and more.

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