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      The Master

      2012, Drama, 2h 16m

      259 Reviews 50,000+ Ratings

      What to know

      Critics Consensus

      Smart and solidly engrossing, The Master extends Paul Thomas Anderson's winning streak of challenging films for serious audiences. Read critic reviews

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      Movie Info

      Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) is a troubled, boozy drifter struggling with the trauma of World War II and whatever inner demons ruled his life before that. On a fateful night in 1950, Freddie boards a passing boat and meets Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the charismatic leader of a religious movement called the Cause. Freddie tries hard to adhere to Dodd's weird teachings and forms a close bond with his mentor, even as other members of Dodd's inner circle see him as a threat.

      • Rating: R (Language|Graphic Nudity|Sexual Content)

      • Genre: Drama

      • Original Language: English

      • Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

      • Producer: JoAnne Sellar, Daniel Lupi, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison

      • Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson

      • Release Date (Theaters):  limited

      • Release Date (Streaming):

      • Box Office (Gross USA): $16.2M

      • Runtime:

      • Distributor: Weinstein Co.

      • Production Co: Joanne Sellar, Annapurna Pictures, Ghoulardi Film Company

      • Sound Mix: Datasat, Dolby Digital

      Cast & Crew

      News & Interviews for The Master

      Critic Reviews for The Master

      Audience Reviews for The Master

      • Oct 08, 2015

        The look of the film and the acting are both stunning. The performance by Joaquin Phoenix is phenomenal (not to mention Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams). It is hard to understand why others rate it very low. I doubt it is such a problem with the plot; it does exist. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end. At each stage there are tensions that play out. Something about the content triggers a negative reaction in people. I will go so far as to say that this is not one of those things that come down to taste; The Master is an excellent film.

        Super Reviewer
      • Apr 28, 2015

        Very different in nature but original story. I did find it hard to follow and lost my interest several times. The acting is what stands out the most.

        Super Reviewer
      • Jan 01, 2015

        Freddie specializes in creating cocktails from anything he can get his hands on, be it torpedo propellent, photography chemicals, fertilizers, or paint thinner. His dad killed himself with alcoholism, he long lost his mom to a mental institution, and now he's just come home from the experience of killing other men in WWII. He copes with these traumas by staying inebriated, and yet the pain still drives him to violence. Yet Master Dodd, who tells readers in his cult book that man is not an animal and must do away with emotional impulses (and farting), sees more inspiration in Freddie than weakness. While being told to repent of animal instincts, Freddie is busy writing a note to the pretty woman sitting across from him: "Do you want to ****? :-)." Dodd is envious of Freddie's free and honest nature, beholden to no one, and most importantly, wholly unashamed of his animalistic self. Freddie, who apparently has missed out on experiencing an affectionate, intimate friendship, becomes Dodd's personal bartender and loyal protector against the world who challenges Dodd's ideas. It becomes apparent that the Master, the wise seer of truth, is himself a slave to two other dueling masters - booze loosens his strings, and his latest wife pulls them taught. Mrs. Dodd sees their fearless family friend as a threat to her dreams of success, and the Master has to find a reason to keep his song bird around. This reason, perhaps genuine or perhaps selfish, does do Freddie a service. What happens next teaches Freddie self control and the ability to soberly deal with his life's pain head on, eye to eye, without so much as flinching. What does a sober, functioning, and centered Freddie look like? What does he do with himself? What does he want? That's for you and the Master to find out.

        Super Reviewer
      • Jul 22, 2014

        Phoenix and Hoffman are absolutely brilliant in this long yet rewarding film that handles its subject matter with the right balance of artfulness, intelligence, and intensity. Hoffman proves once again that he is the greatest actor of his generation.

        Super Reviewer

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