Alternate Titles: The Color of Time
Vince Jolivette, Miles Levy, James Franco
Edna Luise Biesold
James Franco, Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain, Zach Braff, Henry Hopper, Bruce Campbell
TAR is based on Pulitzer prize-winning poet CK Williams’ collection of the same name. The film blends together adaptations of 11 of the poems to create a poetic road trip through CK William’s life.
The film takes us on a journey through several decades of American life from CK’s childhood and adolescence in Detroit in the 1940s and 50s to the early 1980s: CK (James Franco) and his wife Catherine (Mila Kunis) are married with their son Jed. CK prepares for a reading of Tar in New York City, and spends his nights struggling to write new poems, haunted by memories of his past.
As CK drives to his reading in New York City, he remembers central moments of his life: we come to experience and understand both his relationship to love and loss, and how he found his calling as a poet through the women in his life. The film takes us back and forth between past and present, punctuated by voice-over from CK Williams’ poems, recreating the experience of memory and exploring how the fragments of one’s man life can be turned into poetic expression: his loving relationship to his mother (Jessica Chastain), his first sexual experiences as a teenager (Henry Hopper), his first love (Nina Ljeti) and the struggle to preserve a form of innocence and wonder, the illness and loss of a close friend (Zach Braff), and finally his life together with Catherine.