User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 400 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 70 out of 400

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  1. Sep 5, 2014
    7
    When a director has such a fame as PTA has - with people calling him wunderkind, the next blabla and other appalling names - it is inevitable that each new film tends to be seen as a new step in his career, as if his works were all connected. I don't think this is the case: The Master kind of stands alone amongst PTA's filmography, and I must confess, if I were to rate it comparing it with his previous films, I'd give it a 4.

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

    That said, still one of the good movies. My jaw drops when I see "The Avengers" rated more than this by users.
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  2. Sep 1, 2014
    8
    Every so often we get a film that challenges us--this is that film for 2012. Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Philip Seymour Hoffman each give some of their finest work. With such boldness and poetry through the eyes of Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master will not be easily forgotten.
  3. Aug 18, 2014
    8
    The Master is a well-executed and thought-provoking drama from Paul Thomas Anderson that raises many moral questions, and refuses to accept easy answers. While countless directors have gone down the "dystopian future "road, Anderson creates a very interesting "dystopian past". Now I use this term loosely because this film is based in real society, but the dystopian part shows in the mind of PTSD sufferer Freddie Quell, a disturbed man who is drawn in to the lifestyle of Lancaster Dodd, a cult leader. While the film may overstay its welcome in the final third, it's still a great and important picture. Expand
  4. Aug 14, 2014
    8
    It's an extremely slow movie which gives you no conclusion neither during the movie nor at the end. But what special about this movie is it's plot which is so deep and artistic that even you were getting bored with the slow pace but you will keep wondering what going to happen next. These are certain high moments as well. Joaquin phoenix is great as always.
  5. Jul 30, 2014
    8
    I truly did like this one, though I do not find it to be as deep and sophisticated as many critics and others who have watched this one. At the end of the day, this one has themes like every other film, but for the most part, the question, "What is this one about?" can be answered by saying that it is a character study of a deeply troubled man and his father-son type relationship with a cult leader. Nothing profound or deep and, to me, many people are looking into this one too closely and looking for something that is simply not there. Now, onto the film itself. Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman are fantastic and are a great juxtaposition to one another, as Phoenix is over the top, unhinged, violent, and angry, while Hoffman is calm, cool, collected, and calculating. Amy Adams is also good here, though I do wish her role was larger, but at the end of the day, this one is about Phoenix and Hoffman's relationship. The script here is also very strong and does a fantastic job developing the characters. The cinematography is gorgeous, in particular the repeated shots of the water and then the shots of them in desert. Really well done and beautiful to look at without question. Paul Thomas Anderson's direction is also strong as well. After watching Punch-Drunk Love and not liking it after having loved There Will Be Blood and liking Hard Eight, I was still worried that maybe Anderson's films would be more hit and miss for me. However, this one convinced me that that may not be the case, as his direction and this film were really good. At the end of the day, The Master is not for everyone, but for me, it was right up my alley. Expand
  6. Feb 9, 2014
    5
    You will either love this movie for its long, drawn out philosophical banter or you will dislike it for its incredibly slow pacing.

    The first 30 minutes of the movie I had no clue what I was looking at, the next hour I quite enjoyed and the last 45 minutes I was just wishing for it to start making sense already. They've thrown some great actors into the mix and I didn't bother verifying
    it but I believe the movie was based on Ron L. Hubbard which is always a good subject but the pacing and the length did it in for me. Expand
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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.
    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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  10. Dec 9, 2013
    6
    Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" represents everything a challenging movie should be compellingly dissonant performances, intentionally vague thematic ideas, and a virtual plentitude of eye-catching images. It may not be for everybody, but it's definitely a philosophically engrossing ride.
  11. 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......
  12. 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.
  13. Sep 7, 2013
    6
    The film is beautifully shot, making full use of the various surroundings they find themselves in. The use of music from the period was quite effective also, not always to my taste, but it seemed to fit pretty well. As to performances, well, all the major parts were excellently portrayed with Philip Seymour Hoffman standing out. I found I really paid attention to every scene he was in; without him, meaning no disrespect to the other actors involved, it kind of fell flat. I though Amy Adams was excellent too, although I felt she was underused. There appeared to be an awful lot of improvisation, particularly from Joaquin Phoenix and I found these scenes very hit and miss. I sometimes felt like I was watching an acting class. As far as the narrative goes, well I found it meandering; it was very slow (not that this is always a bad thing) and when we did get to a point it would then go off in a totally different direction. Over all, it didn’t stand out as the particularly outstanding work the critics seem to think it is; but then again, I don’t have to watch all the dross they have to on a day to day basis. Maybe I have to watch a lot of really bad films and then watch this one again, but for now it’s ‘Recommended’, but only just.

    SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

    My score: 6.1/10.
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  14. 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.
  15. Aug 1, 2013
    0
    This is a public service announcement: Do not waste your money on this flick, we paid $1.00 at Redbox and stopped the movie 30 minutes in due to 'not wanting to waste another 2 hours of my life' on such a morose, insignificant, depressing, weird movie. These actors (who are superb, by the way) tried to save it, but couldn't. Other uses of my $1.00? Would have preferred the dollar menu at McDs or maybe a dime bag to forget I rented this slop. Expand
  16. 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.
  17. Jul 21, 2013
    5
    The Master with Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman altho the acting was very good the story was repetitive and unfulfilling. My understanding had been it was about an L Ron Hubbard type charlatan and a mentally crippled WW2 soldier looking for something. It sometimes got a hit but more frequently seemed comatose and missed the ball...I expected something more incisive and not obscurantist poetic. Expand
  18. Jul 13, 2013
    0
    Two hours and seventeen minutes of whaaaaa... My misconception was that this was about L. Ron Hubbard the founder of Scientology but it was about a fictitious founder of "The Cause". I sure missed something. I struggled through it hoping it would get better. It didn't.
  19. 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 need a complex storyline to be great. Expand
  20. Jul 2, 2013
    3
    Although it appears that others do appreciated the pace of the film, If found it too slow for my liking. Had no other option to stop less than half way and give up on it.
  21. Jun 25, 2013
    9
    Paul Thomas Anderson continues to mesmerise us with his gripping and powerful and intriguing techniques of film, and the journey doesn't stop with The Master,even if the film never fully let's us in on the whole plan.
    Joaquin Phoenix also proves once again that he is one of the finest and most hard working actors of his time with his performance as Freddie Quell, a man who Phoenix could
    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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  22. Jun 13, 2013
    0
    No movie is possibly as artless or worthless as this movie is. Since all the actors were great I should give them some credit, but I hated it so much. I rather have vomited than see this.
  23. 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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  24. Apr 27, 2013
    8
    The power house performances from Phoenix and Hoffman help create some of the most mesmerizing scenes of 2012, and Paul Thomas Anderson has a great eye for scenery. However, I felt that the story ultimately meandered around the concept of cult and towards the final act fell apart for me, leaving a sense of unfulfillment. It is not his best film to date (that honor still goes to 'There Will Be Blood') but any fan of Paul Thomas Anderson will find greatness through the failures. Expand
  25. Apr 20, 2013
    8
    A rare breed of film which compels it's audience to think and come to their own conclusions about what they are witnessing. From the soundtrack to every poignant shot, 'The Master' demonstrates technical excellence and brandishes a superb cast. How such a momentous piece of work can be so grossly overlooked is unfathomable.
  26. Apr 11, 2013
    7
    This movie is interesting and it has something to say. Sometimes it is brilliant, sometimes not.
  27. 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 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
  28. Mar 21, 2013
    4
    I tend to love dark and weird movies but this one, just didn't work at all for me. A matte of fact, I thought it was completely retarded. Experience at your own risk.
  29. Mar 20, 2013
    6
    Very beautifully acted, a really great cinematographic achievement, however i do think this movie is really difficult to connect with as an audience. 6/10
  30. Mar 16, 2013
    6
    The Master is an interesting story with masterful performances by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, and Amy Adams. But it drags to a point in which you count the minutes until it is finished. But even after the conclusion of the film you are confused about what the hell just happened.
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.