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6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 410 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 72 out of 410

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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......
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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".
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  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. Feb 12, 2013
    9
    Perceived as my most anticipating film of 2012, THE MASTER is Paul Thomas Anderson’s ambitious comeback after THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007, 9/10), 5 years interval may be too long for PTA fanboys, but again the wait is unmistakably deserved. Post-WWII, a USA naval veteran inadvertently hops on a yacht one night and is hooked on a cult named “The Cause”, lead by its eloquent yet irasciblePerceived as my most anticipating film of 2012, THE MASTER is Paul Thomas Anderson’s ambitious comeback after THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007, 9/10), 5 years interval may be too long for PTA fanboys, but again the wait is unmistakably deserved. Post-WWII, a USA naval veteran inadvertently hops on a yacht one night and is hooked on a cult named “The Cause”, lead by its eloquent yet irascible master, while being an avid follower of the master, his perennial booze-abusive, sex-driven, violent nature enables himself to be the soul needs salvation, a side-kick and a role model, it also encroaches his mental realm and life orientation, eventually challenges his loyalty with The Cause and the master. PTA’s trademark roving and tracking long-shots maintain as engaging as any directors could ever achieve, not obtrusive but impeccably tally with the storytelling; the retro-soaked palette authentically establishes a mystic aura of the inexplicable internal mechanism of how our emotion rises and falls, attended by a rhythmic score from Jonny Greenwood.

    Joaquin Phoenix gives me a first impression of Michael Shannon (whose TAKE SHELTER 2011, 9/10 is among my top pick of 2011), in a far gaunter figure, he embodies his character so devotedly and destructively, it is a privilege to appreciate his hunchback stance, the unique way when he speaks (English words evade me now, help?), his exuberance, his furore, his confusion and his determination. The erosive bitterness conceals in his gawky body is compelling and he is a war victim, a damaged good seeking for a rejuvenation, the master and The Cause may or may not cure him, anyhow, he still possess his free will, if only the power of repetition works. Philip Seymour Hoffman, doesn’t need too much physique alternation though, is equally mesmerizing if not too overbearing, his mind-blowing delineation of the master’s polarized volatility is another textbook archetype of performance art. Amy Adams, whose fourth Oscar-nomination in 8 years has wrought some dissent here, accomplishes an amazing expressionless supporting performance, her role doesn’t require any ostentatious flare-up, but each time her composure and relentlessness exudes disparate feelings from inside (blithe, haughty, disdained, confident, commanding, suspicious, disgusted, etc.), and her “milking the cow”coalition with Hoffman is simply petrifying. Grabbing only 3 acting nominations (with faint possibility to win any of them), THE MASTER’s bumpy Oscar-road is far from triumphant compared with THERE WILL BE BLOOD, but time will testify whether it is an overlooked masterpiece or an elusive piece of self-indulgent, but no matter on which case, one cannot deny that it heralds that PTA is most probably on his way to be the Stanley Kubrick of our generation (not least suggested by the evocative nudity scenes which seemingly pay tribute to the masked orgy in EYES WIDE SHUT 1999, 8/10), and it is a tremendous blessing for all the cinephiles.
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  13. Feb 5, 2013
    10
    Superbly crafted, The Master is the ultimate contemporary Avant-garde film. The complexity of the story and the lack of dramatic coherence and unity, combined with richly colored cinematography, Greenwood's brilliant score and Anderson's nearly unprecedented artistic talent rich in philosophically adventurous and thematically exploitative spirit, makes The Master a layered statementSuperbly crafted, The Master is the ultimate contemporary Avant-garde film. The complexity of the story and the lack of dramatic coherence and unity, combined with richly colored cinematography, Greenwood's brilliant score and Anderson's nearly unprecedented artistic talent rich in philosophically adventurous and thematically exploitative spirit, makes The Master a layered statement against conventional narrative and determined resolution. Therefore, it sustains its marvelous and enigmatic opacity and many may find it very difficult to deal with it. Nonetheless, even those who find it difficult to digest Anderson's lack of transparency and non-eventful story, should be able to find a lot to enjoy in, e.g. the masterclass performances. Besides the grand aesthetic values, the film also explores themes such as post-war American society, its psychological, emotional and moral structure, the western's world principles of freedom and the conflicting yet absorbing authority of the master, the loss, weirdness, sadness, mental illness, belief, accompanied with suggestive philosophical ideas such as the impossibility of reconstructing and ultimately, facing one' s past. Expand
  14. Feb 3, 2013
    10
    Where do I begin with this mystical masterpiece, and where do I end? Off the heels of his modern day classic, The Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson constructs yet another challenging art film that’s sure to mystify and perplex viewers across the globe in The Master. The film follows Freddie Quell, an unstable drifter fueled by alcohol, who recently returned from the Second World War.Where do I begin with this mystical masterpiece, and where do I end? Off the heels of his modern day classic, The Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson constructs yet another challenging art film that’s sure to mystify and perplex viewers across the globe in The Master. The film follows Freddie Quell, an unstable drifter fueled by alcohol, who recently returned from the Second World War. Plunged deep within his most basic animalistic instincts, Quell stumbles upon the charismatic, self-actualized man known as Lacaster Dodd, who leads a movement (cult!) called the Cause. Dodd sees this man as a new challenge, and the film treks his attempt to tame this beast that is Freddie Quell. Is Dodd truly the Master (as he is commonly referred to in the film) or is it Quell who has mastered and embraced his animalistic instinct… One could even go further to question if Dodd’s wife (played with chilly precision by Amy Adams!!), who seems to be married to the Cause, has more clout than she lets on. Clearly inspired by scientology and its founding father, L. Ron Hubbard, the movie attempts to indulge us without being too candid. Its open ended-ness begs you to question whether there was any real resolution or if the extensive, thought provoking process was worth it. But these are the raging questions that make you appreciate this complex piece of work even more. Anderson constructs a masculine ballet of words, between man and animal. Both men played brilliantly by Joaquin Phoenix (Quell) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Dodd). Phoenix channels much rage and aggression in a difficult role and Hoffman, conversely, channels a lot of charisma and wit (which may come across as easy) in an equally difficult role. Adams also gives one of the best performances of her career in this film; as the enigmatic, Peggy Dodd. With its brilliant editing and cinematography, not to mention the score that was a character of its own, the film proved to be a feast for the mind, eyes and ears. Next to Cloud Atlas, The Master is the most ambitious films of 2012, that’s expected to endure decades of analysis and reinterpretations. It is simply the year’s best. Expand
  15. Jan 25, 2013
    10
    Just because it's unconventional doesn't mean it's bad. Audiences need to stop being repulsed at the thought of being challenged by a film. This is one of the best movies I've seen, because it has so many layers. I could go back many times and get more and more meaning out of it.
  16. Jan 23, 2013
    10
    If you hated this but loved Tree of Life, you need your head examined. Both are prime examples of an auteur filmmaker getting the opportunity to make pictures that go against Hollywood norms for the sake of their own artistry. It's a miracle a movie like The Master can even get made when the entire industry's sole purpose is profit. A movie like this doesn't get made to please the masses.If you hated this but loved Tree of Life, you need your head examined. Both are prime examples of an auteur filmmaker getting the opportunity to make pictures that go against Hollywood norms for the sake of their own artistry. It's a miracle a movie like The Master can even get made when the entire industry's sole purpose is profit. A movie like this doesn't get made to please the masses. Paul Thomas Anderson deserves credit for, once again, writing and directing a film that is reminiscent of Kubrick or Welles. Anderson's films appeal to an audience that enjoys great acting and character over repetitious conventions in plot development. Only a handful of movies like this get made a year that end up getting a nationwide major theater release and audiences should be welcoming it, rather than admonish it. Don't bother with The Master if you honestly believe Skyfall is worthy of a Best Picture nomination. Expand
  17. 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.
  18. Dec 20, 2012
    10
    Some will say the storyline of The Master seems basic, and told in an overly convuluted way; however, any true movie-hound knows Anderson doesn't care about what's happening on the surface. It's all about the symbolism, and The Master is filled with fascinating meanings and subtle truth, the when looked for, hit you like a bullet train. It is a magnificent accomplishment in acting,Some will say the storyline of The Master seems basic, and told in an overly convuluted way; however, any true movie-hound knows Anderson doesn't care about what's happening on the surface. It's all about the symbolism, and The Master is filled with fascinating meanings and subtle truth, the when looked for, hit you like a bullet train. It is a magnificent accomplishment in acting, writing, directing, editing, cinematography, and score, and the best American film of the year. Expand
  19. Nov 19, 2012
    9
    Dustin Hoffamn and Joaquin Phoenix are remarkable
  20. Nov 18, 2012
    9
    Truly remarkable performances from Phoenix and Hoffman, with the former (Freddie) portraying an navy veteran, a true outcast and degenerate, unable to conform, always following his instincts in contrast with the latter (the Master) who has it all worked out and will not reason with anyone who does not believe in 'The Cause', a philosophy of life he introduced and cultivates and promotesTruly remarkable performances from Phoenix and Hoffman, with the former (Freddie) portraying an navy veteran, a true outcast and degenerate, unable to conform, always following his instincts in contrast with the latter (the Master) who has it all worked out and will not reason with anyone who does not believe in 'The Cause', a philosophy of life he introduced and cultivates and promotes through his method. When the two men are brought together, they inevitably effect one another, with the Master inspired the animalistic behaviour of Freddie whilst Freddie goes on a journey to find himself. I would not be surprised if this film wins a number of awards especially for acting. Expand
  21. 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
  22. Oct 21, 2012
    10
    This has potential - as with Anderson's other spectacular films - to be one of the most important pieces of cinema in the past 50 years. It's a story of power, control, desire, moving on, and relapse. It's magnificently acted, terrifically scripted, and gorgeously shot. This is the epitome of electrifying filmmaking.
  23. 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
  24. Oct 5, 2012
    10
    It's not a perfect film but the effect it had on me warrants a perfect score. It has the best performances of the year with Joaquin Phoenix playing Freddy Quiad and Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Lancaster Dodd. It may be to long and some scenes may not work as well as they should but the overall effect of the film is undeniably powerful. At the end of the film a failed to get out of myIt's not a perfect film but the effect it had on me warrants a perfect score. It has the best performances of the year with Joaquin Phoenix playing Freddy Quiad and Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Lancaster Dodd. It may be to long and some scenes may not work as well as they should but the overall effect of the film is undeniably powerful. At the end of the film a failed to get out of my seat it was that thought provoking and powerful. Expand
  25. j30
    Oct 4, 2012
    10
    The Master is the movie to beat this year. If you want a movie to think for you go see something else. Without a doubt the movie will polarize it's audiences. But what did you expect from Paul Thomas Anderson? The same person who brought us "There Will Be Blood," "Boogie Nights," and "Magnolia."
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. 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.
  29. 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
  30. Sep 28, 2012
    10
    "Genius Madhouse Escaped Lunatic"

  31. 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.
  32. Sep 27, 2012
    9
    Hypnotic and mesmerizing. I felt entranced throughout many portions of this movie. Such a beautifully filmed piece of work; and the score by Jonny Greenwood was both jarring and unsettling, helping to maintain the unique observatory tone of this film. Is it possible for Joaquin and Philip to split the best actor Oscar? They keep you engaged at levels I've hardly experienced before (andHypnotic and mesmerizing. I felt entranced throughout many portions of this movie. Such a beautifully filmed piece of work; and the score by Jonny Greenwood was both jarring and unsettling, helping to maintain the unique observatory tone of this film. Is it possible for Joaquin and Philip to split the best actor Oscar? They keep you engaged at levels I've hardly experienced before (and Joaquin's physical presentation is astounding!). The film explores so many ideas and leaves so many questions unanswered I don't know where to begin. I definitely plan on seeing it again! Expand
  33. 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.
  34. Sep 26, 2012
    10
    This is a great film that requires multiple viewings and thoughts. Here
  35. 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
  36. Sep 24, 2012
    10
    This is by far the best film of the year! The Master has two incredible performances (Phoenix, Hoffman), beautiful cinematography, and a powerful message. This film will tear out your heart by subtly exposing people for who they are at their core. I believe this to be true for all of the masterpieces creating by Paul Thomas Anderson. Bravo, sir, bravo!
  37. 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
  38. Sep 23, 2012
    9
    This is a mesmerizing film. I haven't a clue if it's a good film, but it sure struts itself out as one. The acting is beyond superb, even if Phoenix made me squirm with his part psycho, part PTSD, neanderthal, as loose a cannon that ever strode the silver screen. It's not a profound film, just made to look like one, but the film making is awesome. And I would love to see the Director'sThis is a mesmerizing film. I haven't a clue if it's a good film, but it sure struts itself out as one. The acting is beyond superb, even if Phoenix made me squirm with his part psycho, part PTSD, neanderthal, as loose a cannon that ever strode the silver screen. It's not a profound film, just made to look like one, but the film making is awesome. And I would love to see the Director's cut. It reminded me a lot of Orson Welles best work, minus the heavy metaphors (except of course the sand lady). It's as quintessential American as any movie I've seen. Power, religion, ego, violence, unconscious self loathing, all wrapped into one complicated, and perplexing picture. And scene after scene of either/or hold your breath, squirm in your seat, shake your head tension, or all three. Expand
  39. Sep 23, 2012
    9
    The maddening and precipitous nature that ran rampant across Joaquin Phoenix
  40. 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
  41. Sep 23, 2012
    10
    A masterpiece and one of the best films of all time. If you dislike this film, then you shouldn't watch movies. Beautiful, haunting and flawlessly executed in all areas, it's a movie that will be analyzed and talked about for decades
  42. Sep 22, 2012
    9
    This is a very polarizing film. I recall at least three people walking out. What does that mean? If you've come to watch a typical Hollywood movie, with typical storytelling and a predictable ending, I'm afraid you might be utterly disappointed. Possibly disgusted. This film isn't for you. It's creepy, uncomfortable, awkward, tense, exhilarating, vile, hilarious, somber, and beautiful. TheThis is a very polarizing film. I recall at least three people walking out. What does that mean? If you've come to watch a typical Hollywood movie, with typical storytelling and a predictable ending, I'm afraid you might be utterly disappointed. Possibly disgusted. This film isn't for you. It's creepy, uncomfortable, awkward, tense, exhilarating, vile, hilarious, somber, and beautiful. The lead actors deliver stunning performances. Their on-screen relationship is natural and believable. The supporting cast is also brilliant, there are no weak links in this chain. The unsettling, off-putting, gorgeous score from Jonny Greenwood is near perfect. The cinematography feels new, fresh, inspired. There is nothing else like this being done in major Hollywood productions. Without sounding pretentious, this film is a piece of art, first and foremost. If you want to see a beautiful film made by a director and actors at the top of their game, this just may be the film for you. Expand
  43. Sep 21, 2012
    10
    The Master, the new Paul Thomas Anderson movie, with Amy Adams and Joaquin Phoenix, and what happen? The movie is AWESOME, have an interesting story, with an incredible development, the characters are awesome because the performances are really great, and the screenplay wow, cool. I love The Master.
  44. 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
  45. Sep 17, 2012
    10
    Another amazing epic Paul Thomas Anderson film where every facet of the film is extremely dynamic. It is very dense and there's a lot to take in whether it be the tense, grinding score, the gorgeous shot choices (punctuated by vibrant color and detail in 70mm), or knock out performances from the lead males. The physical work that Joaquin does is outstanding, I have not seen an actor asAnother amazing epic Paul Thomas Anderson film where every facet of the film is extremely dynamic. It is very dense and there's a lot to take in whether it be the tense, grinding score, the gorgeous shot choices (punctuated by vibrant color and detail in 70mm), or knock out performances from the lead males. The physical work that Joaquin does is outstanding, I have not seen an actor as fully committed and free in a long time, perhaps since Daniel Day in There Will Be Blood. Paul's most interesting film in terms of structure/ editing, jumping through time willy nilly, perhaps mirroring the teachings of Lancaster Dodd or perhaps entering the mind of Freddie continually going back to where he is stuck (the war/ lost loves). The relationship between Dodd and Quell is tense and at times adorable, they are so in love and desire so much to have what the other has: Lancaster wants to act on impulse and not be controlled by any "Master" and Freddie whats to break this insane cycle he seems to find himself trapped in. This film will absolutely take many more viewings and I believe it will continue to grow in my mind as PT's best film (potentially). Expand
  46. 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
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.