The Master

User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 471 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 77 out of 471

Where To Watch

Stream On
Stream On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling

User Reviews

  1. Jul 13, 2016
    7
    The Master is not quite a masterpiece, but it is a solid thought provoking film. It isn't enrapturing and it doesn't grab a hold of you and drag you in, but it does raise questions about post-WW2 ptsd, the charismatic nature of cult leaders, and why they can exist, and self doubt about one's work. It is beautifully shot and it does lift and lower your spirits, with humorous and somberThe Master is not quite a masterpiece, but it is a solid thought provoking film. It isn't enrapturing and it doesn't grab a hold of you and drag you in, but it does raise questions about post-WW2 ptsd, the charismatic nature of cult leaders, and why they can exist, and self doubt about one's work. It is beautifully shot and it does lift and lower your spirits, with humorous and somber moments. The dialogue is not deep in words, but it feels concise and to the point; there are no wasted words. The chemistry between Hoffman and Phoenix is visceral and beautiful. It made me want Hoffman to succeed as a leader, partly because of his frustration and humanness, but at the same time, I know he is a cult leader with, literally, out of this world beliefs. Expand
  2. Jun 7, 2016
    10
    Truly one of the best films from this past decade. Amazingly acted and beautifully shot, The Master is the tale of one man who truly becomes his own master, while providing a thoughtful critique on human organizations. One of Paul Thomas Anderson's best works.
  3. Nov 23, 2015
    8
    The Master directed by the masterful director Paul Thomas Anderson starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams is again a good movie from Anderson. First of all there's some really good acting, and by good I mean Oscar worthy performances especially by Phoenix and Hoffman. Some excellent writing too. Just only looking at the scenes where Hoffman's character isThe Master directed by the masterful director Paul Thomas Anderson starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams is again a good movie from Anderson. First of all there's some really good acting, and by good I mean Oscar worthy performances especially by Phoenix and Hoffman. Some excellent writing too. Just only looking at the scenes where Hoffman's character is questioning Phoenix's character. The writing is just very good. The cinematography is also just beautiful. Long takes, a good use of focus and lighting makes this a very beautifully looking picture. At certain scenes I was just smiling, not because there was something humorous, but because it was so well done on every level. But where this movie flaws is where certain scenes felt a bit unnecessary and out of place. This movie is already vague at some moments and these scenes make the movie even more vague and overly convoluted at times. This can really take away the enjoyment of this movie for you. Especially when those scenes keep on going for too long. This leaves the viewer with questions in the end. This is that kind of movie that really needs a second view because the plot is at times too convoluted for its own good.
    In the end: this movie is really good. From the acting to the writing to the cinematography. But the flaws lay with the plot as I already have sad. It is for me too close to an art-house picture. But when you're into that kind of stuff I can really recommend this movie.
    Expand
  4. Nov 16, 2015
    9
    When I first watched The Master I didn't really like it that much. I thought the movie was slow and kind of dull on my first viewing, but after re watching it for a second time, I really liked this movie and the film did grow on me after awhile.

    Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Philip Seymour Hoffman were absolutely brilliant in this movie, as I think this is the best I've ever seen from
    When I first watched The Master I didn't really like it that much. I thought the movie was slow and kind of dull on my first viewing, but after re watching it for a second time, I really liked this movie and the film did grow on me after awhile.

    Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Philip Seymour Hoffman were absolutely brilliant in this movie, as I think this is the best I've ever seen from them. The cinematography was perfectly shot, the writing was great and Paul Thomas Anderson directing was superb. The Master is a work of art.
    Expand
  5. Jul 22, 2015
    10
    Superb acting is in this film - for viewers who love to see actors tear themselves apart with a role, here it is. Phoenix and Hoffman are at the pinnacle of their respective abilities. Phoenix, playing Freddie Quell draws you in the minute you see his creased up face answering questions from a psychological evaluation post WWII. Hoffman, the deranged but maybe even genius Lancaster DoddSuperb acting is in this film - for viewers who love to see actors tear themselves apart with a role, here it is. Phoenix and Hoffman are at the pinnacle of their respective abilities. Phoenix, playing Freddie Quell draws you in the minute you see his creased up face answering questions from a psychological evaluation post WWII. Hoffman, the deranged but maybe even genius Lancaster Dodd does exactly what he always does - makes you fall dearly in love for twisted and maniacal men. And to give due credit to Paul Thomas Anderson, a director who literally can't have a bad idea; this is one of my favorite directors and this movie is what sparked my interest even more than it ever was in method-acting, the Daniel Day-Lewis-esque idea. With both Philip and Joaquin getting an Academy Award nomination, Amy Adams must also receive due credit and recognition for playing the far-seeing Peggy, whose eye's seem to be peering through people rather than at them. She received a nomination as well. I love this film and these actors. Watch it! Expand
  6. Jul 8, 2015
    10
    it gets a ten because the thought of amy adams being smarter than hoffman would kill him in real life... not to mention the scene in the prison cell and the fact that modest mouse told me to watch it.......makes it automatic ten...also love cults to death
  7. May 2, 2015
    10
    If There Will Be Blood is the best movie that Paul Thomas Anderson has ever created, then The Master fills in the 1.b. category on the list of his movies. The Master is as artful and cerebral as its acclaimed predecessor, and one of the best movies of the decade so far.
  8. Apr 13, 2015
    9
    I personally consider this film better than There Will Be Blood. The decisions of filmmaking were extremely original and with purpose, the performances are perfect, the directing is top notch, the story is intriguing, complex and engaging. I am not even sure If i got the whole thing! But the things that i got made me love this movie. The use of music is perfect to set out the tone and theI personally consider this film better than There Will Be Blood. The decisions of filmmaking were extremely original and with purpose, the performances are perfect, the directing is top notch, the story is intriguing, complex and engaging. I am not even sure If i got the whole thing! But the things that i got made me love this movie. The use of music is perfect to set out the tone and the characters are very interesting and well written. Paul Thomas Anderson again brings us a masterful film that is misunderstanded now. Expand
  9. Mar 30, 2015
    9
    The cinematography wraps a quaint, pleasant world around two men navigating a hopeless search for order in the world and themselves. The audience won't immediately identify with the manic behavior or violent mood swings (Rex Reed hates anything that isn't immediately likable like a dessert), but the audience will certainly identify the religious aspects and human behavior surroundingThe cinematography wraps a quaint, pleasant world around two men navigating a hopeless search for order in the world and themselves. The audience won't immediately identify with the manic behavior or violent mood swings (Rex Reed hates anything that isn't immediately likable like a dessert), but the audience will certainly identify the religious aspects and human behavior surrounding tightly-gripped philosophies and beliefs: certainty, skepticism, narcissism, insanity. It's serious, funny, subtle, just perfect to dissect and enjoy. Expand
  10. Jan 19, 2015
    10
    This is a work of art and Paul Thomas Anderson has constantly shown us again and again that he may be the most artistically gifted film-maker working today. Although it's brimming with philosophical ideas about deception, manipulation, scientology and psychiatry and pervaded with beautiful visuals, at its essence the Master is a love story. It follows the storyline of a Naval veteranThis is a work of art and Paul Thomas Anderson has constantly shown us again and again that he may be the most artistically gifted film-maker working today. Although it's brimming with philosophical ideas about deception, manipulation, scientology and psychiatry and pervaded with beautiful visuals, at its essence the Master is a love story. It follows the storyline of a Naval veteran (brilliantly played by Joaquin Phoenix) who arrives home from war unsettled by the traumatic events he's been through and unsure of his place in the world. By the end of the film, we learn that the real question to ask isn't if he's ready to be a part of the world, but, "Is the world ready to know him?". Expand
  11. Nov 4, 2014
    10
    The Master is not only Paul Thomas Anderson's best work but it is also one of the very best art films in cinema history. It is shot beautifully, acted superbly, written and directed in the best possible way. No, it is not a type of film that can be comprehended just by first viewing; it requires revisiting like 2001: A Space Odyssey. This film divides the audiences into two differentThe Master is not only Paul Thomas Anderson's best work but it is also one of the very best art films in cinema history. It is shot beautifully, acted superbly, written and directed in the best possible way. No, it is not a type of film that can be comprehended just by first viewing; it requires revisiting like 2001: A Space Odyssey. This film divides the audiences into two different reactions; they love it or they hate it. Not just mainstream audiences but also to critics and film lovers (which doesn't happen so often). If you are a serious audience who appreciate pure art-house cinema, this will be a wonderful gift for you. If that's not, this might be a nightmare; a very terrible one. Expand
  12. Sep 5, 2014
    7
    When a director has such a fame as PTA has - with people calling him wunderkind, the next blabla and other appalling names - it is inevitable that each new film tends to be seen as a new step in his career, as if his works were all connected. I don't think this is the case: The Master kind of stands alone amongst PTA's filmography, and I must confess, if I were to rate it comparing it withWhen a director has such a fame as PTA has - with people calling him wunderkind, the next blabla and other appalling names - it is inevitable that each new film tends to be seen as a new step in his career, as if his works were all connected. I don't think this is the case: The Master kind of stands alone amongst PTA's filmography, and I must confess, if I were to rate it comparing it with his previous films, I'd give it a 4.

    The performances are good, especially Hoffman's rather than Phoenix's in my opinion, the cinematography was spectacular as always - the real problem is the storytelling. The unusual film choice might have extended in sort of a "total 50s feel" where even the pacing of the film is old-fashioned. Anyway, the story itself is interesting, it just isn't delivered as potently as it could have.

    That said, still one of the good movies. My jaw drops when I see "The Avengers" rated more than this by users.
    Expand
  13. Sep 1, 2014
    8
    Every so often we get a film that challenges us--this is that film for 2012. Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Philip Seymour Hoffman each give some of their finest work. With such boldness and poetry through the eyes of Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master will not be easily forgotten.
  14. Aug 18, 2014
    8
    The Master is a well-executed and thought-provoking drama from Paul Thomas Anderson that raises many moral questions, and refuses to accept easy answers. While countless directors have gone down the "dystopian future "road, Anderson creates a very interesting "dystopian past". Now I use this term loosely because this film is based in real society, but the dystopian part shows in the mindThe Master is a well-executed and thought-provoking drama from Paul Thomas Anderson that raises many moral questions, and refuses to accept easy answers. While countless directors have gone down the "dystopian future "road, Anderson creates a very interesting "dystopian past". Now I use this term loosely because this film is based in real society, but the dystopian part shows in the mind of PTSD sufferer Freddie Quell, a disturbed man who is drawn in to the lifestyle of Lancaster Dodd, a cult leader. While the film may overstay its welcome in the final third, it's still a great and important picture. Expand
  15. Aug 14, 2014
    8
    It's an extremely slow movie which gives you no conclusion neither during the movie nor at the end. But what special about this movie is it's plot which is so deep and artistic that even you were getting bored with the slow pace but you will keep wondering what going to happen next. These are certain high moments as well. Joaquin phoenix is great as always.
  16. Jul 30, 2014
    8
    I truly did like this one, though I do not find it to be as deep and sophisticated as many critics and others who have watched this one. At the end of the day, this one has themes like every other film, but for the most part, the question, "What is this one about?" can be answered by saying that it is a character study of a deeply troubled man and his father-son type relationship with aI truly did like this one, though I do not find it to be as deep and sophisticated as many critics and others who have watched this one. At the end of the day, this one has themes like every other film, but for the most part, the question, "What is this one about?" can be answered by saying that it is a character study of a deeply troubled man and his father-son type relationship with a cult leader. Nothing profound or deep and, to me, many people are looking into this one too closely and looking for something that is simply not there. Now, onto the film itself. Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman are fantastic and are a great juxtaposition to one another, as Phoenix is over the top, unhinged, violent, and angry, while Hoffman is calm, cool, collected, and calculating. Amy Adams is also good here, though I do wish her role was larger, but at the end of the day, this one is about Phoenix and Hoffman's relationship. The script here is also very strong and does a fantastic job developing the characters. The cinematography is gorgeous, in particular the repeated shots of the water and then the shots of them in desert. Really well done and beautiful to look at without question. Paul Thomas Anderson's direction is also strong as well. After watching Punch-Drunk Love and not liking it after having loved There Will Be Blood and liking Hard Eight, I was still worried that maybe Anderson's films would be more hit and miss for me. However, this one convinced me that that may not be the case, as his direction and this film were really good. At the end of the day, The Master is not for everyone, but for me, it was right up my alley. Expand
  17. Jan 10, 2014
    9
    A film with two great performances by Phoenix and Hoffman and great character development. Another fantastic uneasy soundtrack gives this a feel similar to There Will Be Blood, although this film seems even darker in tone. Worth more than one viewing
  18. Nov 10, 2013
    10
    strong and smart perfomances, this is a movie teach you how can you change, and the most important the script is something than you never forget......
  19. Jul 23, 2013
    10
    this movie is not for people whom are not movie lovers. this artwork is a masterpiece and actually PTA is The Master. acts are brilliant. Hoffman is great as always and this is Joaquin's best act ever. along side with The Holy Motors, the best movies of 2012... if you know about movies and PTA, this comment is unnecessary and you already ignored the low scored reviews.
  20. Jul 9, 2013
    10
    Paul thomas Anderson has once again made a movie that almost reach perfection; not only because of the beautiful cinematography, the unique soundtrack, and the amazing actings. But because of the fact that it's strenght comes from the little intense moments, and the deepness of the characters; not because of a story. The screenplay is great as it is. It is a proof that a film doesn't needPaul thomas Anderson has once again made a movie that almost reach perfection; not only because of the beautiful cinematography, the unique soundtrack, and the amazing actings. But because of the fact that it's strenght comes from the little intense moments, and the deepness of the characters; not because of a story. The screenplay is great as it is. It is a proof that a film doesn't need a complex storyline to be great. Expand
  21. Jun 25, 2013
    9
    Paul Thomas Anderson continues to mesmerise us with his gripping and powerful and intriguing techniques of film, and the journey doesn't stop with The Master,even if the film never fully let's us in on the whole plan.
    Joaquin Phoenix also proves once again that he is one of the finest and most hard working actors of his time with his performance as Freddie Quell, a man who Phoenix could
    Paul Thomas Anderson continues to mesmerise us with his gripping and powerful and intriguing techniques of film, and the journey doesn't stop with The Master,even if the film never fully let's us in on the whole plan.
    Joaquin Phoenix also proves once again that he is one of the finest and most hard working actors of his time with his performance as Freddie Quell, a man who Phoenix could have you convinced is very much real and sitting next to you, his personality erratic and broken after finding it extremely difficult adjusting to life after serving in World War II, his behaviour lands him in various amounts of trouble as he decides to take up portrait photography, but is continued abuse of alcohol and sexual obsession causes him nothing but problems, then Lancaster Dodd comes along, played by the growing phenomenon of acting that is Philip Seymour Hoffman, who in the film plays a man who is the leader of a movement of what can be outlined as free thinking and overcoming all sorts of issues, he truly has all the answers.
    His approach to therapy along with his family is frowned upon by many, they stay in the houses of their followers while his wife Peggy (Amy Adams) sees that Freddie may be their downfall. The true outline of the film is how human behaviour and a large array of personalities can collide, Quell is damaged, erratic and full of surprise, almost bipolar, while Dodd is a collected and content man, with goals and ambitions always in his sight, his motives are unclear and these are indeed hidden from the viewer, a technique that works on many occasions, but at times can become puzzling and may be misinterpreted.
    A score from the same composer of There Will Be Blood has its important and pivotal part in this thrilling film, a mixture of sombre but upbeat tones perfectly mirrors the difference in characters who are bound to collide at some point.
    The opacity that people are diving at to destroy the film is the ideal way for the viewer to interpret this film how they see fit, the movement that is prominent throughout the film is reminiscent of Scientology, and while not as horrific as The People's Temple, the flashes of mastery and looking to one true person leave it to the lucky viewer to decide exactly what is happening, plenty of questions lead to an array of interesting answers.
    A powerful and enthralling effort that will not cease to amaze in terms of performances and writing, you won't get these performances "staring at a wall".
    Expand
  22. Apr 27, 2013
    8
    The power house performances from Phoenix and Hoffman help create some of the most mesmerizing scenes of 2012, and Paul Thomas Anderson has a great eye for scenery. However, I felt that the story ultimately meandered around the concept of cult and towards the final act fell apart for me, leaving a sense of unfulfillment. It is not his best film to date (that honor still goes to 'There WillThe power house performances from Phoenix and Hoffman help create some of the most mesmerizing scenes of 2012, and Paul Thomas Anderson has a great eye for scenery. However, I felt that the story ultimately meandered around the concept of cult and towards the final act fell apart for me, leaving a sense of unfulfillment. It is not his best film to date (that honor still goes to 'There Will Be Blood') but any fan of Paul Thomas Anderson will find greatness through the failures. Expand
  23. Apr 20, 2013
    8
    A rare breed of film which compels it's audience to think and come to their own conclusions about what they are witnessing. From the soundtrack to every poignant shot, 'The Master' demonstrates technical excellence and brandishes a superb cast. How such a momentous piece of work can be so grossly overlooked is unfathomable.
  24. Apr 11, 2013
    7
    This movie is interesting and it has something to say. Sometimes it is brilliant, sometimes not.
  25. Apr 1, 2013
    10
    Excact same experience as There Will Be Blood. The first time you'll notice the amazing acting but the film with seem pretty empy. The next time you watch it you see all sorts of potential in it and the acting will seem even better. Every time you watch it after that it will seem rich and full, and you'll realize P. T. Anderson actually truelly knows what he is doing. My favorite movie ofExcact same experience as There Will Be Blood. The first time you'll notice the amazing acting but the film with seem pretty empy. The next time you watch it you see all sorts of potential in it and the acting will seem even better. Every time you watch it after that it will seem rich and full, and you'll realize P. T. Anderson actually truelly knows what he is doing. My favorite movie of the year, and DD Lewis was great but I wish the oscar went to Jaoquine. Did you know his brother was River Phoenix? I somehow didn't know that till recently. Anyways, I digress. Expand
  26. Mar 15, 2013
    9
    One of the most interesting and highest quality movie I have seen for a long time. The acting was superb. Mr. Joaquin Phoenix and Mr. Philip Seymour Hoffman acting was more than brilliant. Amy Adams was also great in her role. What is that movie about? I think it is a character study and a meditation on the human desire to find its place in life. This is shown through the life of a "lost"One of the most interesting and highest quality movie I have seen for a long time. The acting was superb. Mr. Joaquin Phoenix and Mr. Philip Seymour Hoffman acting was more than brilliant. Amy Adams was also great in her role. What is that movie about? I think it is a character study and a meditation on the human desire to find its place in life. This is shown through the life of a "lost" man who is looking for happiness, a purpose and a bond with others (a family of some sort). This way He (Phoenix) bumps into the Cause, and meets the Master (Philip Seymour Hoffman). The Master is a man who is also kind of "lost" in life, and tries to find his happiness and place trough the cult he is leading. In the movie we see a snippet from the life of a cult and the people behind it. These people (like many other people) try to find a meaning behind their life. I think this was the main theme of the movie, beside many more themes... in my opinion Expand
  27. Mar 12, 2013
    10
    PT Anderson is one of the greatest talent's in American cinema, for one simple reason; He does not pander to the masses. This is a beautifully directed character study of a charasmatic man trying to levetate above animalistic biology and his antithesis, a man destined to succumb to them. At no point does Anderson give in to character exposition or reveal his intentions. The acting of bothPT Anderson is one of the greatest talent's in American cinema, for one simple reason; He does not pander to the masses. This is a beautifully directed character study of a charasmatic man trying to levetate above animalistic biology and his antithesis, a man destined to succumb to them. At no point does Anderson give in to character exposition or reveal his intentions. The acting of both male leads was sublime. Phoenix, doing enough in my opinion, to best Day Lewis in Lincoln. The Oscar snub for Best film and director was clearly a reaction to the Scientology basis, even though this is not strictly a film about Scientology. Expand
  28. Mar 10, 2013
    9
    Paul Thomas Anderson continues to prove that he's one of the best directors going today. If you want a film with superior acting and outstanding dialogue then I would highly recommend The Master.
  29. Mar 3, 2013
    7
    The acting prowess of the trio of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joachim Phoenix, and Amy Adams that made this worth-while for viewers. Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" is fabulously well-acted and crafted--no question, but it's the material that is not clear. It has two performances of Oscar caliber, but how do they connect? "The Master" won't likely impress the audience of his earlierThe acting prowess of the trio of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joachim Phoenix, and Amy Adams that made this worth-while for viewers. Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" is fabulously well-acted and crafted--no question, but it's the material that is not clear. It has two performances of Oscar caliber, but how do they connect? "The Master" won't likely impress the audience of his earlier masterstroke. A film that starts off seeming like the best of 2012 slowly becomes a chore to sit through. It didn't have to be that way. The things that are lacking in "The Master"--are those any good screenwriter could have fixed. Alas, Anderson wrote this one himself.

    Phoenix plays Freddie Quell, a soldier back from the Second World War who's finding it hard to adjust back to society, given his violent tendencies and is usually in a floating world of his own, fueled by his own deadly mix and concoction of any liquids he can find to develop into bootleg alcohol. In his drunken stupor one day he stumbles upon the boat full of followers of The Cause, and as a stowaway gets to meet the charismatic Cause leader Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman), who decides to take him under his wing, with Freddie's ability to conjure up some of his magic juice a plus to have around the community. It's a toss-up as to what Freddie requires most a master, a sponsor, or a shrink and Dodd vacillates between all these roles when he takes Freddie on as a pet cause. For the next half hour, the film explores the odd bond that develops between this brilliant, articulate master manipulator and this confused, tongue-tied grifter. The Animated the first half hour soon slows down-- and then--sooner than later, grinds to a halt as "The Master" becomes a series of episodes. Just scenes from life inside a burgeoning cult-like organization.

    If you're hoping for insights into Scientology, or some kind of expose, there are none to be had. The movie's focus remains on those two men, Freddie and the Master, but there's really very little to explore there, and so the movie, ever so slowly and yet ever so definitely, begins to sag and then cave in. What made this film compelling to watch despite its scenes that seem to linger in indulgence--and requiring patience to sit through scores of repetition--are the powerhouse performances. Ultimately it's a plain sailing affair, with only its great performances to thank and shore up what's lacking in strength of story. "The Master" is a film that is too vague or compelling about it's Cause.
    Expand
  30. Mar 3, 2013
    10
    This film plays more like a fevered dream than like realist history, so people expecting some sort of conventional narrative may quickly lose patience with this movie. They may also be missing something special. In addition to being glowing symbols more than they are conventional characters, neither Freddie Quell (Jochain Phoenix) or Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffmann) is especiallyThis film plays more like a fevered dream than like realist history, so people expecting some sort of conventional narrative may quickly lose patience with this movie. They may also be missing something special. In addition to being glowing symbols more than they are conventional characters, neither Freddie Quell (Jochain Phoenix) or Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffmann) is especially likable. But the performances suggest emotional and historical truth in ways that are often moving, without pretension or sentimentality. Freddie Quell is a figure of the American male id, post World War II: violent, sensuous, insatiable. He's driven to drink drafts of American industry to quench his burning: the fuel of torpedoes, the fluids of photography, institutional cleaners, all mixed with the fruits of the earth. Dodd, "The Master," is a new-model super ego who might tame and direct Quell. Dodd is smug as a baronial magnate, as full of literary pretensions as Tom Sawyer; his resolve is borrowed from his steely wife (Amy Adams). Hoffman's Dodd, contrary to rumors about the film, is not a charismatic, psychological autocrat, but is wounded, defensive, and dreamy. He lives out a fantasy of priestly insight and command, but few people really believe him; he gets the benefit of many doubts. As Quell is drawn to Dodd's fantasies of mind over history, Dodd is drawn to Quell's energy and chemical inventiveness. Together they suggest different means of achieving atomic-age versions of the old American goal of obliterating the past and standing alone in a new present. They also suggest the polar tensions of raw animal desire and magisterial fantasies of triumph present in many American men. Quell's desire to consume, dominate and love the earth (Quell is obsessed with a woman sculpted in sand) meets a rhetoric of platonic self-mastery in Dodd. The preposterous incongruity of the men and their desires does not result in a drama of control and exploitation, which audiences may expect, but in inchoate attempts at mutual understanding in several scenes that are more humanly intimate and dramatically resonant than most sexual episodes in movies. The 70mm "real film" photography in this movie is amazing; many of the film's strongest moments, including those with people, are wordless. An irony of the film is that lush and magnificent nature (the Pacific ocean, the Arizona desert, the San Francisco Bay) is often overlooked by Quell and Dodd in their self involutions. Nature in American writing often becomes a symbol of self; it automatically is for these two. But nature may have the last word, in an ending that is unexpectedly funny and tender. I rate this as one of the best American movies. Expand
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 43 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 43
  2. Negative: 1 out of 43
  1. Reviewed by: Emma Dibdin
    Nov 4, 2012
    100
    With potent performers and poetic visuals, Anderson has made the boldest American picture of the year. Its strangeness can be hard to process, but this is a shattering study of the impossibility of recovering the past.
  2. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    Oct 29, 2012
    100
    An often brilliant '50s-throwback character drama that never feels nostalgic, with terrific central performances and a luminous, unforgettable visual beauty.
  3. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Sep 21, 2012
    80
    The Master is above all a love story between Joaquin Phoenix's damaged WWII vet, Freddie Quell, and Philip Seymour Hoffmann's charismatic charlatan, Lancaster Dodd. And that relationship is powerful and funny and twisted and strange enough that maybe that's all the movie needs to be about.