Written September 24, 2012
Mixed bag. Mostly awesome, but the low points are low. A handful of very strange scenes. If for no other reason, see it to watch Phoenix. Incredible character.
Written September 14, 2012
It's great to see Anderson back with Phillip Seymour Hoffman in another masterpiece of character and authentic time and place film making. Just like There Will Be Blood, The Master gets under your skin to tell you a piece of the American myth in a more truthful way than anyone has done before.
Written September 15, 2012
This is an attempt at a masterpiece that goes a great way towards achieving it. The performances are worth the price of admission. The dialogue is excellent. The story is, for the most part, riveting. You'll stare at the screen slightly confused and love it. Things start to get a little too strange towards the end and smatterings of "very odd indeed" throughout, but you can take it. If you want to have seen all the Oscar nominated films and performances, you're going to start here.
Written March 02, 2015
What to say about this film....?
To say the least, it was a letdown.
After 30 seconds of just about every scene, I could not wait for the next scene to begin, in the hopes that it would be better (more entertaining, more thought provoking, anything!) than the current scene I was being forced to sit through.
75% of the movie is close-up face shots with the camera. I understand the need to convey 'brainwashing' when Phoenix is listening to 'the Master' but as a viewer i'd like to have some idea of the setting when I'm watching. It tends to be an important part of telling a story.
At every moment of 'oh I wonder where this is going to end up,' PTA let me to a dead end. Killing the exciting parts of the story and leaving me with the drawl that was 'The Master.'
If it wasn't for brilliant performances from Phoenix and PSH, I'd rate this film much lower.
Written June 29, 2016
Had great expectations, based on the buzz, but found the film largely unlikable. There was not a single character in the film worth empathy or sympathy -- perhaps Anderson's intent. The whole film was a long, drawn out plodding, disjointed, unapologetic celebration of self-loathing.
Beautiful cinematography. Must-see for Hoffman and Phoenix fans, but others should be prepared to be offended by the characters and to NOT be entertained.