Written February 11, 2016
A terrific cast in an awful movie!!!!...let's see how many times we can use the F word...too violent...too much sex...just wasn't necessary to the plot.
I want my money back!!!!!
Written August 26, 2016
I loved this film for about 90 minutes, and liked the rest. It is superb overall - but it's rather hardcore, if you know what I mean. The kind of film to watch if you are in a very introspective mood, or enjoy watching a great filmmaker at work. Everything about "The Master" is captivating. The camera work, the lighting, the period scenes, the pacing, and - especially - the acting. Phoenix and Hoffman are mesmerizing. The opening scenes and even up until the middle of the movie, are easily the best thing I've seen all year. The only downside is the movie tends to drag, and could easily have been 30 minutes shorter. Little was added by the film's length. Darkly funny and disturbing in a way the lingers in a sneaky fashion. Definitely worth seeing.
Written March 23, 2015
There's a lot to admire about PT Anderson's The Master, from the gorgeous photography, set designs and the hypnotic score by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood but what stands out the most is the brilliant performance by Joaquin Phoenix as a disturbed ex-veteran without a home to return to. Phoenix gives a committed performance bordering on madness. His crooked posture, intense glare (made more so by lazy eyes) and even his breathing invoke something beastly struggling within him. His character comes off as brutish, primordial and utterly masculine. He's incongruous in a post WW2 America, too violent to succeed in any profession for long. Then he comes across Philip Seymor Hoffman's "The Master," a character so megalomaniacal and delusional to see a friend and kindred soul in Phoenix's character, and instead seeks to study and cure him. My one complaint is that Hoffman's character is perhaps too one dimensional and familiar as the preacher who believes his own lies. 9/10
Written October 05, 2015
The Master is not a pleasant film. Neither are most of P.T. Anderson's other films but they are all essential. Anderson is holding the torch for Serious American Filmmaking in the exalted 1970s mode. The film follows the journey of the deeply unpleasant Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), a sex-obsessed WWII vet and borderline sociopath as he drifts through life and in and out of the influence of The Master, a religious/cult leader played by Phili Seymour Hoffman and loosely modelled on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. If possible, see the film in 70mm - the gorgeous, massive format allows Anderson's impeccable style - think deep focus, long shots, sophisticated but understated editing choices - to flourish, and The Master is likely to be the most beautiful film you've seen theaters in a long time. The content is uncompromising, an exacting journey into man's basest urges and shortcomings. Anderson's most accomplished movie to date but also his most challenging. A contemporary classic.
Written May 28, 2016
Great acting, but confusing, non-linear story, director places style over real revelation of characters, motives, or ideas. Fascinating topic, but we did not come away feeling as if we had a deeper understanding of what motivates the cult leader or followers, other than the fact that some followers are deeply damaged (e.g. Phoenix's character) and the leader is borderline nuts (not to mention his wife!) Met friends outside after the film. Their reviews:
1. "I hated it."
2. "Oy vay"