User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 439 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 74 out of 439
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  1. Aug 7, 2013
    0
    This is pretty much the worst movie I've ever seen. Good acting, but what for? There's no plot. They should either say that in the summary or just leave it blank. An absolute waste of time.
  2. 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
  3. Nov 28, 2012
    2
    I went to see this movie because of positive critic reviews. Although there are good performances by the excellent cast, the overall movie is incomprehensible and boring. All four of us fell asleep. As a reference, I've fallen asleep during about 3 movies in my entire life. In my opinion and in general, it's a bad sign when the user score is dramatically lower than the critic score here onI went to see this movie because of positive critic reviews. Although there are good performances by the excellent cast, the overall movie is incomprehensible and boring. All four of us fell asleep. As a reference, I've fallen asleep during about 3 movies in my entire life. In my opinion and in general, it's a bad sign when the user score is dramatically lower than the critic score here on metacritic. Expand
  4. Oct 3, 2012
    10
    This film was just spectacular and Paul Thomas Anderson continues to impress over and over again. For my full review check out:

    http://mostrecentlywatched.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/themaster
  5. Sep 16, 2012
    3
    I watched this film today, from a 70mm print. It is one of a handful of movies I wish I had never seen. It is slow and ponderous for the first half. The two main characters are unlikeable, which would be OK if they engaged you, which they don't. I might have sympathized with Freddie and his obvious PTSD issue if he hadn't been such a crude violent drunken jerk. The Master never felt real;I watched this film today, from a 70mm print. It is one of a handful of movies I wish I had never seen. It is slow and ponderous for the first half. The two main characters are unlikeable, which would be OK if they engaged you, which they don't. I might have sympathized with Freddie and his obvious PTSD issue if he hadn't been such a crude violent drunken jerk. The Master never felt real; portraying a faker without looking and feeling fake must be harder than I thought. All the way through this film is distinctly 1950's shooting and editing. The professional critics apparently love this; but in the theater audience it felt distinctly weird. We have moved on a long way from Panasonic 65mm cameras. This film is a throwback. If you like retro films and plots that go nowhere, this film was made for you. Expand
  6. Sep 23, 2012
    1
    I use metacritic to help make my movie selections, so someone needs to say this! Yes, good acting. Yes, unusual music, though disturbing. Yes, good cinematography that you expect for any movie. But expected for any movie is a plot, a story, a reason to exist, to watch, to understand, to persuade, to enjoy or even to hate. There's nothing here. After 2 1/2 hours, thankfully it ends andI use metacritic to help make my movie selections, so someone needs to say this! Yes, good acting. Yes, unusual music, though disturbing. Yes, good cinematography that you expect for any movie. But expected for any movie is a plot, a story, a reason to exist, to watch, to understand, to persuade, to enjoy or even to hate. There's nothing here. After 2 1/2 hours, thankfully it ends and you're grateful that you at least had a comfy chair and hot buttered popcorn to waste your time! Expand
  7. Sep 23, 2012
    9
    The maddening and precipitous nature that ran rampant across Joaquin Phoenix
  8. Oct 8, 2012
    10
    This is my favorite movie (yes of all time). I'm not sure who should take credit for it either. Joaquin Phoenix had a breathtaking performance, along with Philip Seymour Hoffman. Paul Thomas Anderson did a fantastic job directing, especially during the single shot realism takes. He chose to use an old Panavision camera and shot in 70 mm and it looks better than any other movie that I haveThis is my favorite movie (yes of all time). I'm not sure who should take credit for it either. Joaquin Phoenix had a breathtaking performance, along with Philip Seymour Hoffman. Paul Thomas Anderson did a fantastic job directing, especially during the single shot realism takes. He chose to use an old Panavision camera and shot in 70 mm and it looks better than any other movie that I have ever seen. The DOP Mihai Malaimare Jr. did a fantastic and notable job on this film as well. A masterpiece. Expand
  9. 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......
  10. Jan 21, 2014
    2
    Terrible. This is the kind of movie critics love but I can't find a single person I know who liked it so most of the positive reviews are just trying to be cool like the critics. My wife fell asleep it was so boring.
  11. Sep 22, 2012
    4
    Maybe the film went over my head, but I took nothing away from the Master. No feelings, no questions, no discussion. The Master is a film that sets out to tell no particular story, in no particular hurry. The characters are paper-thin, and really only give us glimpses of anything truly interesting. Make no mistake, the acting is superb, but I fear everybody is mistaking the wonderfulMaybe the film went over my head, but I took nothing away from the Master. No feelings, no questions, no discussion. The Master is a film that sets out to tell no particular story, in no particular hurry. The characters are paper-thin, and really only give us glimpses of anything truly interesting. Make no mistake, the acting is superb, but I fear everybody is mistaking the wonderful acting for an overall enjoyable experience, film, and directing. Sure, Anderson tries a lot of different things to make it seem like an important film (shooting in 65mm), but he never made it a captivating one. If many take away nothing from a film other than adoration for the director, then is it really a film worth seeing, or is it simply fodder for the critics? Expand
  12. Oct 27, 2012
    1
    The longest 2.5 hours of the year. Unmitigated crap, self indulgent, pretentious and most of all boring. Oh yeah, excessively overacted as well. Anything Hoffman and Phoenix act in, the critics love. Even this terrible excuse for a movie.
  13. Sep 14, 2012
    9
    Lots to chew on here, but there will certainly be skeptics on this one, as A.O. Scott mentions. As epic as it feels in some respects, it is the smallest of epics. It follows one fairly hard to connect with man wandering and struggling and not much else, narratively speaking. There is some treasure for those who enjoy digging for it, but it is not as grandiose nor as tactuallyLots to chew on here, but there will certainly be skeptics on this one, as A.O. Scott mentions. As epic as it feels in some respects, it is the smallest of epics. It follows one fairly hard to connect with man wandering and struggling and not much else, narratively speaking. There is some treasure for those who enjoy digging for it, but it is not as grandiose nor as tactually "enjoyable" as There Will Be Blood. Really, the thing *I* am beginning to most appreciate about PTA is what will drive many others away - that he's not scared of wrestling with failure. And with that sometimes comes moments that may surprise and bring something fresh to the screen, and other times one may feel he overreaches. But whereas I once maybe felt his over reaching was of an egotistical sort, I find them now to be rather selfless in a way. He has the command to make something impeccably polished and yet chooses to relinquish it, not to show off, but to explore something outside of that comfort zone. Anyway, interesting stuff. World class acting, and equally amazing score and cine. Will definitely see it again. Expand
  14. Sep 18, 2012
    0
    It's tempting to label opaque films as profound. Their ambiguity hints at a well of feeling percolating just beneath the surface, one that touches on pain, loss, sadness, everything it is to be human. But, and this may be a hard pill to swallow, sometimes opaque films are just that: opaque. They are pointless exercises in nebulous action and inactive structure for the sake of appearingIt's tempting to label opaque films as profound. Their ambiguity hints at a well of feeling percolating just beneath the surface, one that touches on pain, loss, sadness, everything it is to be human. But, and this may be a hard pill to swallow, sometimes opaque films are just that: opaque. They are pointless exercises in nebulous action and inactive structure for the sake of appearing profound. The Master falls into this category. It is a full 2.5 hours of unbridled fatuous nonsense. Paul Thomas Anderson, who is no doubt a talented writer/director, seems to have gotten lost in his own reputation for literary mystique, and the result is one of the more narcissistic pieces of films I've had the displeasure of watching. Be assured that if any no-name writer/director submitted this script for financing, he/she would have been met with a resounding chorus of criticism, and the project would never have gotten off the ground. The Master presents no story, no real characters, nothing beyond a handsomely shot vacuous mess. The film's climactic moments fail to stir an emotional response because they signify nothing grander than the cinematic arrogance of an auteur that relishes the label auteur. If ever there was an example of narcissism in film, The Master is it. As for the throngs of adoring fans, I would only suggest that artistic output, particularly vague, nonsensical artistic output, has the unique ability to coerce accolades by intimidation. To suggest that there is nothing profound in The Master is to open oneself up to the criticism that he/she was incapable of picking up on the films nuances. It's tempting instead to nod along with the discordant soundtrack and addled story structure and pretend to get it. But I don't feel like nodding along to this because there is nothing here to get. And the unending stream of praise might be the most pointed example of insecurity since the Emperor sauntered out in public wearing his new clothes. Expand
  15. Sep 17, 2012
    1
    There is a growing chorus of hosannas greeting "The Master" that will no doubt crescendo around Oscar time, but I would like to add my voice to the minority. There are very few negative reviews for this movie. Those I have seen have usually received a stream of venom from readers, who fill the comments sections with wounded outrage. The raves, meanwhile, are telling in their own way.There is a growing chorus of hosannas greeting "The Master" that will no doubt crescendo around Oscar time, but I would like to add my voice to the minority. There are very few negative reviews for this movie. Those I have seen have usually received a stream of venom from readers, who fill the comments sections with wounded outrage. The raves, meanwhile, are telling in their own way. Consider this quote from our own Kenneth Turan ("'The Master' mesmerizes in word and deed", LA Times, 9/13/12): "its interest is not in tidy narrative satisfactions but rather the excesses and extremes of human behavior, the interplay of troubled souls desperate to find their footing." Tidy narrative satisfactions. Here's another: "This is a superbly crafted film that's at times intentionally opaque, as if its creator didn't want us to see all the way into its heart of darkness." Anyone beginning to get a whiff of **** here? No? Perhaps we should take the advice of Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwarzbaum: "the movie may not even be fully comprehensible on first viewing, the bigger patterns in the narrative and the rhythms of the filmmaking revealing themselves more fully and clearly only with a return visit. Even then The Master is enigmatic." Well, you can't have everything. But Kenneth Turan deserves the final word: "it's disconcerting that the relationship between (Dodd and Quell) gets murkier rather than clearer as time goes on, (but) that is perhaps the point." Yes, we all love being disconcerted by murky enigmas, don't we? There's a certain feeling of sophistication that comes along with it. But this seems to me to be more like the shared thrill of a mob mentality, the kind of thing that gets dictators elected and cult leaders established, a projected fantasy of greatness that finds affirmation in incomprehensible mediocrity. We've seen it before. It would be perhaps too harsh to say that "The Master" is an example of this. There is no doubt a lot fine work on display in this film. But if I want opacity, I can always just stare at a wall. Expand
  16. Sep 17, 2012
    10
    This movie is not fast-paced, unthinking entertainment. Rather, it is an eery, haunting exploration into the minds of two madmen and the general cult insanity of America in its 50s. Through outstanding performances, Anderson takes us through the painful, moment-by-moment mix of reality and delusion, fantasy and belief which is the hallmark of cult life and followers. Often humorous, butThis movie is not fast-paced, unthinking entertainment. Rather, it is an eery, haunting exploration into the minds of two madmen and the general cult insanity of America in its 50s. Through outstanding performances, Anderson takes us through the painful, moment-by-moment mix of reality and delusion, fantasy and belief which is the hallmark of cult life and followers. Often humorous, but always disturbing, this film is unlike no other. The themes have no easy answers, so there is no neat bow and tie here. This is a landmark movie which makes any viewer think twice - about loyalties to any group or individual based on need. Expand
  17. Sep 18, 2012
    2
    For me, this movie was a case of the critics serving the cool-aide and us moronic masses following their leaders (cult)! While I'll admit that the individual performances were good, the collective was an uninteresting mess. I had zero connection to any of the characters and could have cared less what happened to them. Dreadfully long, dreadfully boring. Our entire group simply hated it.
  18. Sep 22, 2012
    1
    I could not, for the life of me, believe in the premise of the movie, that the Seymour-Hoffman character was supposed to be this charismatic figure people flocked to. His character was so uncharismatic, so completely banal -- why would any of the characters in the movie be interested in anything he said? I was bored beyond caring halfway through the movie and wished I was watching BurtI could not, for the life of me, believe in the premise of the movie, that the Seymour-Hoffman character was supposed to be this charismatic figure people flocked to. His character was so uncharismatic, so completely banal -- why would any of the characters in the movie be interested in anything he said? I was bored beyond caring halfway through the movie and wished I was watching Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry instead. Expand
  19. Sep 22, 2012
    2
    In the end, the film is self-important- a hodgepodge of shiftless vignettes that add up to something tiresomely less than their sum. An incredible acting performance from Phoenix is diminished and finally dissolved in a stagnant reservoir of anti-plot where the maddening fact that nothing ever happens is justified audaciously and insultingly by the old highbrow notion that eachIn the end, the film is self-important- a hodgepodge of shiftless vignettes that add up to something tiresomely less than their sum. An incredible acting performance from Phoenix is diminished and finally dissolved in a stagnant reservoir of anti-plot where the maddening fact that nothing ever happens is justified audaciously and insultingly by the old highbrow notion that each non-happening is so meaningful in itself as to make the need for story irrelevant. Adding salt to the wound, the audience is consistently made to feel guilty and ashamed for its terribly middle class inability to appreciate or connect with such a vaunted and critically acclaimed "masterpiece." Viewers are finally left to wonder if even Scientology itself could take their eleven dollars while offering such straight-faced, masturbatory nonsense in return. Expand
  20. Sep 22, 2012
    0
    This movie should be called "Blah, Blah, Blah". I tried to love it. I wanted to love it. I admire and respect all the creative artists involved. It was pretty. It was well acted. But somewhere in the second hour (it would be incorrect to call it an "act", there are no "acts" in this film), I found myself wanted to chew through my arms to release myself from the theater. Perhaps if IThis movie should be called "Blah, Blah, Blah". I tried to love it. I wanted to love it. I admire and respect all the creative artists involved. It was pretty. It was well acted. But somewhere in the second hour (it would be incorrect to call it an "act", there are no "acts" in this film), I found myself wanted to chew through my arms to release myself from the theater. Perhaps if I had seen it in 70 mm the drive, character arcs or (god forbid art house movie lovers)... the PLOT might have been revealed in greater detail. As it was, I left shaking my head and wondering what I could have done if I got those 2 1/2 hours back... Expand
  21. Sep 22, 2012
    0
    If this show is considered good - then I don't get it! Although, I don't consider myself a prude and can tolerate brief nudity this was BEYOND my tolerance! The whole theme of the movie was disgusting and nauseating! This is really about degenerate men doing degenerate things. I saw no redeeming qualities in the men or the show. Some of the scenery was beautiful - but is spoiled by whatIf this show is considered good - then I don't get it! Although, I don't consider myself a prude and can tolerate brief nudity this was BEYOND my tolerance! The whole theme of the movie was disgusting and nauseating! This is really about degenerate men doing degenerate things. I saw no redeeming qualities in the men or the show. Some of the scenery was beautiful - but is spoiled by what goes on in the movie. I can't think of a movie I have watched that was a disgusting as this one - the only 10 it gets from me is 10 for disgusting. Expand
  22. Sep 23, 2012
    1
    I have never seen so many people walk out of the theater about halfway through the movie. To those of you expecting an Oscar-caliber film, while it may undeservedly be nominated for Oscars, this movie is nothing but a collection of beautifully shot but meandering scenes. There's no story, no narrative arc, just two unlikeable characters interacting in crazier ways. It becomes tiresome, fast.
  23. Sep 23, 2012
    9
    Both the intellectually amusing and the emotionally disturbing attributes of The Master make it a true and enjoyable P.T. Anderson movie. This is not a movie for everyone. Before watching this movie you should remember who it is coming from. If you think you understand previous P.T. Anderson's movies, then go watch it because you will enjoy it. If you don't recall any P.T Anderson movieBoth the intellectually amusing and the emotionally disturbing attributes of The Master make it a true and enjoyable P.T. Anderson movie. This is not a movie for everyone. Before watching this movie you should remember who it is coming from. If you think you understand previous P.T. Anderson's movies, then go watch it because you will enjoy it. If you don't recall any P.T Anderson movie then go with an open mind. And if you remember There Will Be Blood and Magnolia, and you are not sure if you liked them, then watch it but don't come back and write a negative review. Expand
  24. Sep 23, 2012
    2
    I sat through this movie for almost 2 hours wondering where it was going and when. Maybe it was to artsy or just over my head. Whatever it was, I haven't been so confused about a movie since Memento, even Memento made you think. The master will probably win an Oscar, it only made me feel like I was punked.
  25. Sep 23, 2012
    0
    I am with the other 19 reviewers giving this a negative review. People think way too hard. Any one who was coming out of this thinking that the movie was some grand statement or beautiful work saw a different movie than what I saw. I kept wanting to leave the movie, and didn't--just because I thought maybe, just maybe it would get better in the end. I have never run out of a theatre asI am with the other 19 reviewers giving this a negative review. People think way too hard. Any one who was coming out of this thinking that the movie was some grand statement or beautiful work saw a different movie than what I saw. I kept wanting to leave the movie, and didn't--just because I thought maybe, just maybe it would get better in the end. I have never run out of a theatre as fast as I did when that was over. It was really just a bore, and made me very, very upset, and taught me not to use Metacritic to pick which movies to see. Please don't see this. I'll feel bad if you do. Expand
  26. Sep 23, 2012
    9
    While I admit to being a huge PT fan, I'm not averse to calling out his flaws and errors: for instance: While I enjoyed TWBB more than the Coens 'No Country for Old Men,' I thought NCFOM deserved best picture on account it was a tighter script and a more cohesive picture overall. After reading some of the critics reviews about The Master I was genuinely worried that the errors of TWBBWhile I admit to being a huge PT fan, I'm not averse to calling out his flaws and errors: for instance: While I enjoyed TWBB more than the Coens 'No Country for Old Men,' I thought NCFOM deserved best picture on account it was a tighter script and a more cohesive picture overall. After reading some of the critics reviews about The Master I was genuinely worried that the errors of TWBB were expanded upon in PTs latest film. Two friends of mine, huge PT fans as well and very astute cinematic watchers seemed more baffled than intrigued after watching The Master and this worried me. I became anxious ratehr than excited as my turn came to watch the movie that I was gonna find PT had went over board with his ego and contented himself with obfuscation for the sake of perplexing his audience as an end. A dread came over me that there would be proof that my god - PTA - was a false one. I am far too honest, even when watching my gods fall, to fabricate or justify my their existence, regardless of the medium. My favorite author, Cormac McCarthy, who has written my favorite book in Blood Meridian proved perfectly capable of not only writing tripe, but publishing it in his play, 'Sunset Limited. ' So when I say that The Master is anything but tripe, please entertain the idea that Im no acolyte and I am concluding this honestly. I have no intention of convincing anyone that you will "like it" once watched, but I assure you this is one of the most intimate and honest investigations into a wounded soul and what happens when it is remedied by a master of illusions. If you do not grasp how completely damaged Freddie Quell is (And its not even an intellectual acquisition, its a simple one - PT puts it all on the screen) and what happens when he runs into this first rate charmer and con-man, the formula is astounding and a narrative honesty unfolds. Im not sure that my experience of meeting dozens of con-artists and charlatans and having watched debauched, rakish, atheists and agnostics go from partying every night to singing all things Jesus the very next morning, had anything to do with how I understand this film, but it may have helped. Once I fell in line with Freddie, and became the reactionary simpleton that he is, the story holds true form there till the end. From this angle it is an extraordinarily tight narrative and the advent of the semi-quack in Dodd only solidifies the psychological trajectory of both men right until the very last scene. I disagree with all those who believe this movie is "trying to be complex." There are several critics that suggested this despite giving the movie very high ratings. Sure, i think the more you dig, the more you get, but you dont have to take seminars on film making, or to be familiar with quantum physics or to have read Derrida or any other high-brow philosophies on consciousness or culture in order to compute this film. I suggest just discover Freddie's wounds, assimilate to the simian-like simpleton mind he has (with accompanying traumas) in the beginning and everything will follow from there. Again, even if you do this, Im not promising youll like the film as much as I did, but I think youll see that PT wrote a particularly rich and tight script. Hes not trying to get away with any pseudo-complexities to pass of for high-art. Its mostly a simple story, with some questions I still have not answered - but they're in the periphery, not wholly detrimental to the story - but it is high art, in the simplest of forms. A tall order and few could have pulled it off. Expand
  27. Sep 23, 2012
    2
    The Master left us confused and a little empty. Hoffman and Phoenix deliver dramatic portraits that take us nowhere. None of the characters were very likable.
  28. Sep 24, 2012
    3
    Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, with these two great actors, this is what they produced? There is no denying the tremendous acting ability of these two men, but the movie, stinks on ice. I noticed my fellow theater goers checking their watch, as I was, to see how long we would have to suffer until it was over. I had the opportunity to speak to some of the movie goers on ourJoaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, with these two great actors, this is what they produced? There is no denying the tremendous acting ability of these two men, but the movie, stinks on ice. I noticed my fellow theater goers checking their watch, as I was, to see how long we would have to suffer until it was over. I had the opportunity to speak to some of the movie goers on our way out, complete disappointment. Expand
  29. Sep 25, 2012
    10
    I really can't wrap my head around why people hated this movie so much. I think alot of it has to do with expectations. i personally didn't love There Will Be Blood, so I went into this with no expectations. While it did have a few problems of its own, it was the most fantastic film-going experience I've had in a LOOOooong time. It doesn't have a cookie cutter narrative, and it certainlyI really can't wrap my head around why people hated this movie so much. I think alot of it has to do with expectations. i personally didn't love There Will Be Blood, so I went into this with no expectations. While it did have a few problems of its own, it was the most fantastic film-going experience I've had in a LOOOooong time. It doesn't have a cookie cutter narrative, and it certainly speaks in metaphors...lots of visual poetry and character development as metaphor. The narrative really exists inside the audience's mind. If you're not willing to think a little, you're missing out. I think American audiences are just a little too spoiled and ADD for this type of film in the 21st century. Maybe I'm wrong. I just really want to understand what people hate about this movie. Expand
  30. Sep 26, 2012
    10
    This is a great film that requires multiple viewings and thoughts. Here
  31. Sep 27, 2012
    10
    If Malick, Antonioni and Kubrick had a baby he would have made The Master. This may be be PTA's most impressive movie, but you need to give it time to digest.
  32. Sep 27, 2012
    0
    This was one of the worst movies we have ever seen. There are only 2 other movies we disliked more than this one! The acting was pretty good but seemed like a waste on such an absolutely terrible movie. Nearly walked out 3 times. If it wasn't for one of our friends sons who actually liked it we would have walked out. He was just released from a mental institute on Monday and hadn't seen aThis was one of the worst movies we have ever seen. There are only 2 other movies we disliked more than this one! The acting was pretty good but seemed like a waste on such an absolutely terrible movie. Nearly walked out 3 times. If it wasn't for one of our friends sons who actually liked it we would have walked out. He was just released from a mental institute on Monday and hadn't seen a movie in over a year; he loved the seen of Joaquin masturbating to beach sand (no joke). He likes animals a little too much. We will not be hanging out with him again. Don't waste your money on this Church of Scientology bunk. Notice how this movie started off strong in early ratings, now that more people have seen it the user score has dropped significantly! Expand
  33. Sep 28, 2012
    10
    This is an amazing film, but you can't go in expecting it to be an L. Ron Hubbard expose in the style of There Will Be Blood. Like all PTA movies, this changes the game.
  34. Sep 28, 2012
    3
    I have never felt more embarrassed recommending a movie to a group of friends - and on my birthday no less! As a P.T. Anderson fan, I was swayed by the amazing reviews from the "critics". I now wonder what Cool-aid they are drinking to give it such rave ratings.

    Yes - great acting - that is a given. Yes - great cinematography and sound- that too is a given. Story - so much
    I have never felt more embarrassed recommending a movie to a group of friends - and on my birthday no less! As a P.T. Anderson fan, I was swayed by the amazing reviews from the "critics". I now wonder what Cool-aid they are drinking to give it such rave ratings.

    Yes - great acting - that is a given.
    Yes - great cinematography and sound- that too is a given.
    Story - so much potential, but falls far short from doing anything other than show the depravity of it's main stars and lack of substance.

    In the end I felt slimed by the brilliantly perverted mind of P.T. Anderson. I felt it necessary to apologize to my friends for putting them through this. That wasn't a gift I wanted to receive on my birthday!
    Expand
  35. Sep 28, 2012
    1
    What a terrible disappointment. Great cast and director, terrific reviews and tons of boredom. The movie started off slow and we waited for it to get better. It never did. The performances were excellent but the material wasn't there. I think the positive reviews of the story are what the reviewers expect to see and are projecting, rather than what the film contains. The audience chatterWhat a terrible disappointment. Great cast and director, terrific reviews and tons of boredom. The movie started off slow and we waited for it to get better. It never did. The performances were excellent but the material wasn't there. I think the positive reviews of the story are what the reviewers expect to see and are projecting, rather than what the film contains. The audience chatter exiting the movie was overwhelmingly negative. I haven't been fooled this badly by critics since Punch Drunk Love. Expand
  36. Sep 28, 2012
    10
    "Genius Madhouse Escaped Lunatic"

  37. Sep 28, 2012
    3
    This is my first review on Metacritic. Odd that I would finally choose my first review on something that felt passionless. I go into every movie with my mind open wide, ready for an experience I will remember. This movie did have some great cinematography, but not much else. I guess I also should give the actors a great deal of credit for portraying lunacy at its finest. Yet, we neverThis is my first review on Metacritic. Odd that I would finally choose my first review on something that felt passionless. I go into every movie with my mind open wide, ready for an experience I will remember. This movie did have some great cinematography, but not much else. I guess I also should give the actors a great deal of credit for portraying lunacy at its finest. Yet, we never really know any of the characters. They exist almost as if they are in our dreams representing some kind of strange, obscure beings. I did not walk away with much of anything and feel as if someone reached in my head and scrambled up my brains. I keep hoping to piece something together, but thus far I cannot seem to do it. I am a bit disappointed and confused. Although, maybe..just maybe it is nothing more than a master of trickery on all who partake. One who is in a cult, follows blindly into the darkness hanging on for dear life. The audiences follow movies and directors in a cult like way at times. Most of us follow reviews....so do we climb aboard this ship of praise for this movie or do you we stand apart from the crowd and say"what the heck was the point?" Expand
  38. Sep 28, 2012
    9
    This is a great movie. It's as captivating as any of PTA's work but maybe in different ways. This film isn't about competition like There Will Be Blood but more about a teacher/mentor relationship unlike any other. It would be easy to write Phoenix's character as a pure audience surrogate but instead we get an unreliable source who could actually benefit from guidance. Shot beautifully,This is a great movie. It's as captivating as any of PTA's work but maybe in different ways. This film isn't about competition like There Will Be Blood but more about a teacher/mentor relationship unlike any other. It would be easy to write Phoenix's character as a pure audience surrogate but instead we get an unreliable source who could actually benefit from guidance. Shot beautifully, there are enough breathtaking shots that would worth seeing it a second time but in 70mm if given the chance. The performances are also spectacular. Unsurprising Hoffman is the star here. He's able to create a charisma that makes you understand why people are drawn to him and yet you can see the gears in his head moving. His character is thinker whereas Planview was an animal in the way Hoffman detests. Phoenix is excellent as well, bringing more to his character than just his surface mannerisms. Adams is also very good. Expand
  39. Sep 29, 2012
    10
    This is just as brilliant as any other PTA film... and it even provides more food for thought. The fact that so many people found this "stupid and pointless" while they the loved Inception just goes to show you that all you need to satisfy most movie goers is a couple guns and explosions.
  40. Sep 30, 2012
    8
    Was curious as to why the reviews are either "OH NO" or "MUST GO", and upon viewing, now know why. This film is aimed at a very small segment of the population, dealing with heavy philosophical issues, existential angst, man's need for ultimate truth, manifest destiny and the weaknesses of the human spirit. If the names Sartre, Kafka, Tolstoy, Wilber, Dyer and Hubbard mean nothing to you;Was curious as to why the reviews are either "OH NO" or "MUST GO", and upon viewing, now know why. This film is aimed at a very small segment of the population, dealing with heavy philosophical issues, existential angst, man's need for ultimate truth, manifest destiny and the weaknesses of the human spirit. If the names Sartre, Kafka, Tolstoy, Wilber, Dyer and Hubbard mean nothing to you; and the terms Existentialism, Integral Theory, Dianetics and New Age as well, chances are you will hate this film. And you won't be alone, in that probably 2% of the population has even heard of these concepts.

    Even with that philosophical base, this is a gritty, tedious, disturbing film that deftly immerses you in the pain such ideological pursuits inevitably produce. It is a rich pain, but painful nonetheless.

    In a world where "Frankenweenie" is about to come out, and American Idol is the top show, little wonder many will despise this film. But for a select few, this is a must see.
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  41. Sep 30, 2012
    1
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The actors were great, the story line was totally obtuse. It was the first movie I have seen a third of the audience walk out. We discussed asking for our money back...no joy for us who have to wait to see one movie a month. Expand
  42. Oct 2, 2012
    4
    To Spike 69: I agree that Mr. Thomas aims at big themes. But, but, but, he is not Sartre, Tolstoy, Kafka, etc... and neither is Mr. Hubbard or dyanetics philosophyl. Let's keep it in good measure.
    I suggested that it resounds a little with some of Moby Dick's characters and some of the themes: like life searching, etc..
  43. Oct 2, 2012
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Submerged below the apparent, surface theme of animalism vs perfectionism are several levels of human emotional and pragmatic intentions with the deepest level hidden by the murky waters of societal taboos. Framed by succulent cinematography and an appropriately disturbing musical score, the tormented souls interact in dances of self protection and manipulations of others. In the shallow depths of this art piece we are explicitly allowed to view the baseness of Quell and the calmness of Dodd. But intertwining with the surface are the contradictions within both character's personas. Dodd wants Quell as protege but also as guinea pig. Quell desires some freedom from his desires and is constantly thwarted in his efforts. However, it is the intertwining next level below where the central, deepest theme flows. Submerged (suppressed?) below in the psyche of both men is a desire unspoken during the mid twentieth century. A desire revealed during their last meeting. A desire seen suppressed in previous scenes by the standards of the day which embed themselves within the characters. FULL SPOILER ALERT: the opening scene is full of partially clad men of the navy with a woman made of sand to defile. We are not privy to the initial meeting of Quell and Dodd but Dodd makes reference to Quell being a scoundrel. During "processing" Dodd asks about hanging out in bus stations and sex with family members. What is he getting at? When Dodd dances and sings in Philadelphia, the women from Quell Expand
  44. Oct 6, 2012
    8
    An unusual, atmospheric film. The story seems to start in the middle and end a little later in the middle. It is a series of questions that ends in a question. Joaquin Phoenix really inhabits the role of Freddie. Just sitting in a theatre I was uneasy from the violent rage he projected. In the final analysis, it pleases because it leaves one thinking about the film, the characters andAn unusual, atmospheric film. The story seems to start in the middle and end a little later in the middle. It is a series of questions that ends in a question. Joaquin Phoenix really inhabits the role of Freddie. Just sitting in a theatre I was uneasy from the violent rage he projected. In the final analysis, it pleases because it leaves one thinking about the film, the characters and the meaning of it all. Expand
  45. Oct 27, 2012
    0
    Pointless. While this movie has nice cinematography and good acting, it is not tied together by a plot. So, I found myself staring at cinematographic diarreah for two hours that felt like four. One of the worst movies I've paid money to watch.
  46. Nov 1, 2012
    10
    I see a lot of people seem to think this movie is pointless (an accusation never thrown at movies with explosions or CGI) which is sad because this is the most substantive movie in many years. The elephant in the room here is religion. The easiest thing to take away from this film is exploration of religions positive and negatives effect. A lot of people wanted this to be a scientologyI see a lot of people seem to think this movie is pointless (an accusation never thrown at movies with explosions or CGI) which is sad because this is the most substantive movie in many years. The elephant in the room here is religion. The easiest thing to take away from this film is exploration of religions positive and negatives effect. A lot of people wanted this to be a scientology takedown and found themselves wanting to look away when they realized the only criticisms coming their way could also be applied to their religion. Expand
  47. Nov 21, 2012
    0
    I went into the cinema expecting a film that would take a serious or thought provoking view on Scientology or cults like it. What I got was 3 hours of tedious boredom in which It seemed to follow a cycle of Joaquin Phoenix displaying his sand fetish, Philip Seymour Hoffman repeating the same lines over and over then deciding to prance around like a lunatic and then when all interest isI went into the cinema expecting a film that would take a serious or thought provoking view on Scientology or cults like it. What I got was 3 hours of tedious boredom in which It seemed to follow a cycle of Joaquin Phoenix displaying his sand fetish, Philip Seymour Hoffman repeating the same lines over and over then deciding to prance around like a lunatic and then when all interest is lost it puts on awkward nude scenes. Never before have I been to a film where the audience was either collectively falling asleep, swearing at the screen over how terrible the film is or cheering when they think it's all over but then have their hopes of escape dashed.

    The characters themselves are impossible to like or take seriously seeing as they have no personality or they are all over the place and you're left wondering which character is meant to have PTSD.

    Overall a review in one sentence would be ' Makes Twilight look like a masterpiece '.
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  48. Dec 23, 2012
    9
    I saw the movie at the Venice Film Festival. I loved it: deep, well directed and acted in an extraordinary way. I found great interpretation of P. S. Hoffman.
  49. Dec 26, 2012
    3
    2 hours and 24 minutes of what seems to be rather an astonishing performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix less than an entertaining and interesting narrative. The story lacks the gripping sense of delving into the world of a WWII veteran and his gradual involvement in a cult which aims to "cure" him and others of illness of the mind and soul. Instead it conveys a2 hours and 24 minutes of what seems to be rather an astonishing performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix less than an entertaining and interesting narrative. The story lacks the gripping sense of delving into the world of a WWII veteran and his gradual involvement in a cult which aims to "cure" him and others of illness of the mind and soul. Instead it conveys a continuous and monotonous journey of Freddy (Jeaquin Phoenix) with no change in mental state or an arc for character development, nor is there really any objective/motivation of the protagonist, just a drifting nothing. For a film that I had such high expectation, the film had me looking at my watch every two minutes and counting the aisles of the cinema room before taking a sigh of relief to the fact that the film was over so I could enter the boring reality of my world which is far more thrilling than Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master'. The subtleties of the plot could be picked up on giving it artistic merit but only to the fact that sometimes the script needed to be to the point and objective focused rather than babble on about nothing with no entertainment value or character development occurring. Of course, the film appears to be highly orchestrated and a beautiful craft of screenplay/film techniques, however, it is in dire thirst of the fundamental aspect of film...to entertain and strike interest. Expand
  50. Feb 26, 2013
    8
    The Master symbolizes our inner fight. Our friend, ruler or foe. Unexplained human reaction explained by ghosts of the past. Group that practice no sensitivity judges the stranger as feeble-minded but they all envy him on his freedom. People create conditional love unconsciously... Beautiful pervaded philosophical work.
  51. Mar 3, 2013
    2
    What a rambling movie. I really tried to get engaged but the plot just kept on bouncing around. I did find that acting excellent by Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, but they could not overcome the ramble. Cinematography was beautiful; scenes were well shot and crafted. But too slow a pace, too thin an understanding of the characters, too much boredom,
  52. Mar 16, 2013
    0
    Modern self-indulgent rubbish. Too long. I gained nothing from watching this. It's nicely photographed, but that is a given in the 21st century. The acting is fine, but this is a review of the movie as a whole. Don't waste your time.
  53. 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.
  54. Jun 1, 2013
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Two Word Critic: Pretentious Nonsense.
    I wanted to like this movie because the director has made fine movies in the past, but this movie has no interesting value. Two lead characters who are unwatchable from the very beginning of the movie to the end, what was the point? It seems to me the movie was some kind of joke played by the director on the audience, why do you hate us mr. Anderson? What did we do to you?I watched until the end hoping something clever would happen. I wasted 2 hours on this movie. Avoid at all costs. Most uninteresting bit: Amy jerks off Phillip in on scene, Other that that, they have no chemistry in the movie, and so at the end of it all who cares?
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  55. Nov 10, 2013
    0
    Horrible, boring movie that critics love so that they can feel intellectually superior to the rest of us who just don't 'get" the move. Boring. Pointless. No plot, no resolution. But hey, the acting is good.
  56. Dec 15, 2013
    0
    Wow what a dud. In the 60's when I began looking more critically at movies, character development, production values, etc., nudity, people masturbating, puking was kind of shocking. Now, with the advent of so many minor league producers and directors, it is commonplace. The notable part of this disaster was having such an array of fine actors scrummed in this lightweight, faux masterpiece.Wow what a dud. In the 60's when I began looking more critically at movies, character development, production values, etc., nudity, people masturbating, puking was kind of shocking. Now, with the advent of so many minor league producers and directors, it is commonplace. The notable part of this disaster was having such an array of fine actors scrummed in this lightweight, faux masterpiece.
    It is sad that movies need explosions, t&a, autoeroticism as subsitutes for good writing and directing. The Master was a total pile of manure.
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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.