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The Master

The Master

2012
Drama
2h 18m
A 1950s-set drama centered on the relationship between a charismatic intellectual known as "the Master" whose faith-based organization begins to catch on in America, and a young drifter who becomes his right-hand man. (imdb)
Your probable score
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The Master

2012
Drama
2h 18m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 63.8% from 4510 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(4510)
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Rated 16 Oct 2012
4
70th
The Master denies audiences a sense of release or resolution; in a sense, it's as if There Will Be Blood had ended after Plainview's final conversation with his son. What we're left with is a pair of deeply flawed characters who feed off of each other in the hopes of satisfying an urge (in Quell's case, normalcy; in Dodd's, power), but are unable to come to terms. This can make it feel aimless, but when it takes shape, it's surprisingly powerful. Will surely benefit from repeat viewings.
Rated 25 Sep 2012
80
80th
The Master is like Paris, Texas starring Don Quixote. It's a tale about two lost wanderers, hopelessly looking for existential answers that don't seem to exist. The plot has lots of intricacies, but The Master's biggest weakness is its inability to convey its depth in an easily readable and coherent fashion. Its arduous pacing makes the somewhat lengthy film feel like a mini-series. And its needless and ill-placed flashbacks ruin any flow and cohesion P.T.A. worked to build.
Rated 23 Feb 2013
7
94th
free-form black comedy depicting a series of flawed surrogate parents/lovers (money, alcohol, faith, therapy, prestige, power, enlightenment) for an abandoned nation of manchildren, beset by a range of crippling, inter-related anxieties. cinema as self-perpetuating ritual of temporary catharsis (easier to make a list of great american films this doesn't echo in some way; s'always the same itches), with lead performances so monstrously convincing they seem the product of directorial brainwashing.
Rated 21 Sep 2012
3
28th
PTA is one of the best and it's obviously masterfully crafted and well acted but overall it was incredibly disappointing. It doesn't have much of a story to tell and never really dives into what the cause is really about or any character motivations. It was too vague to ever satisfy anything I wanted to see. Poor follow up to arguably last decades best film, God I hope this isn't a trend
Rated 09 Feb 2013
90
96th
Is the man who lives his tormented life free with his "animalistic" impulses the master? Or is it the demagogue who embraces "lost" individuals and derives authority from their acceptance. The film poses many interesting unanswered questions and more puzzling are the layers in the relationship between Dodd and Freddy. Gaunt and creepy Phoenix is appropriate in his role as Xenu incarnate. Hoffman is the living embodiment of LRH. Anderson should have thrown in a clambake picnic scene.
Rated 22 Sep 2012
85
84th
Phoenix's face is the star of the film, impeccably lit to accentuate all the brilliant contours of his thin, expressive mug. The cinematography, music, and performances all blend together to form Anderson's most bizarre film yet, one that fabricates a mirror between the two main characters in their sexual passion, their vices, and their spirituality (which may all be the same thing). That's a simplistic explanation for a theme far richer than I can briefly describe here. A beautiful work.
Rated 23 Sep 2012
78
93rd
It's tempting to compare Anderson to Kubrick; if There Will Be Blood is his Clockwork Orange or 2001, this is his Eyes Wide Shut. Less pointed and more meandering, it is ostensibly about sex and belief, but more concerned with the relationship between two people. Freddie and Dodd, despite their differences, are both lost, terrible people whose paths briefly cross. The result is powerful, especially buoyed by Anderson's wonderful cinematography and the lead characters' strong performances.
Rated 02 Sep 2013
79
81st
Wonderful performances from Hoffman, Phoenix and Adams; Phoenix in particular has crafted an absolutely magnificent oddball. The themes and narrative do feel a tad muddied, and the overall message of the film is slightly ambiguous as a result; I might just be missing it, or perhaps ambiguity was the aim. Certainly, the film seems to avoid judging the origin of "cults", but does offer some insight into their emergence. Beautifully shot, and effectively scored, this is definitely worth a watch.
Rated 27 Sep 2012
95
88th
A subdued psychological portrait pitting a deranged emotionalism vs. a deranged intellectualism.
Rated 03 Mar 2013
100
97th
"It's a long, slow process." This will be discussed at length. It will be debated heavily. It is already polarizing. The one theme that stood out, besides a search for connection, was the existence of barriers and how they effect us. We create our own and encounter others, both natural and man-made. Freddy's barriers are his alcoholism and his rage. The problem is he puts his trust, for a time, in the hands of a manipulation master. Deep down he knows it but he's broken and can't be mended.
Rated 16 Feb 2013
85
91st
Watching a P.T. Anderson film feels more and more like walking through an exhibition of a great painter and in a beautiful way getting lost in the pictures...
Rated 29 Aug 2018
89
90th
The master is simply masterful. It is a clinic of cinematography (I felt like saying, keep some ideas for the other movies man). If it was just that, that would have been enough; but it was further reinforced by brilliant characters of Hoffmann and Phoenix (both puts M to mercurial and being that kind of person in earlier stages of my life; I loved how they handled that bottled-up anger feeling). The ending was a tad bit too anti-climatic, but it is definitely worth rewatching.
Rated 15 Oct 2012
96
98th
Wow. .... I sat there speechless once the credits began to roll. 100% absorbed in that film from beginning to end. The best performances of both Philip Seymour Hoffman & Joaquin Phoenix's careers. So many images, scenes, moments and themes to mull over. It was like an out-of-body experience.
Rated 25 Sep 2012
65
45th
It features many contradictory scenes and character motivations. It's extremely self important and meanders with no real end goal. It's still well shot and never boring. The acting is solid albeit over-praised. Phoenix embodies his character very well. Unfortunately there are moments where you can't understand what he is saying since they decided to have him talk out of the side of his mouth for some reason.
Rated 20 Nov 2014
75
68th
I rather enjoyed this, but I'm not exactly sure why. I guess that either makes me pretentious or stupid. (Or both...) Phoenix and Hoffman are completely enthralling here.
Rated 18 Nov 2012
90
97th
Flat-out fucking incredible! PTA is the finest film-maker of his generation, of arguably any generation & "The Master" is simply another addition to the mans canon of greatness. PSH, Adams & especially Pheonix are all amazing, working perfectly in conjunction with PTA's direction which is sumptuous & oozing with mysterious complexity; of which exactly the same can be said for the characters & their relationships. "The Master" is elusive, inconclusive & inexplicable, but all the better for it.
Rated 21 Nov 2013
32
5th
On a scale of one to pointless, I'd rank this getting out and voting. Sharp political humor, now even I hate me.
Rated 15 Nov 2012
55
39th
Indulgently bloated and unsatisfyingly underdeveloped. Maybe there are more to it than meets (and pleases) the eye - but I doubt it. The characters and some of the themes and loose ideas were not without potential but it all leads nowhere. The acting, on the other hand, is the real deal. Philip Seymour Hoffman is the De Niro of his generation.
Rated 13 Oct 2012
7
68th
The Master is aptly titled because the film itself is but a showcase for the two leads and the director; Phoenix and Hoffman prove they are among the best actors of all time, while Anderson presents the viewer with gorgeous cinematography and clever scriptwriting. Due to this "showcase" feeling, the film fails to illicit emotion or pull the viewer in. See, The Master lacks an interesting story to tell, and that is its ultimate flaw. You cannot care about a character who never does anything.
Rated 14 Feb 2013
90
96th
A very precise yet deliciously complex deconstruction of the 1950s cultism, that goes to great lengths to form and shape both characters and the fictional Scientology-lore.
Rated 10 Feb 2013
90
95th
PTAs least structured narrative seems to frustrate viewers that yearn for something more concrete in its 'required' three acts. Instead, The Master does its own thing by giving us a look at a cult of personality that is so wonderfully portrayed by Hoffman. Joaquin Phoenix's posture and face alone could win awards as he commands a sense of nervousness through the entire film. Its a thoroughly enjoyable ride AND it introduced me to a wonderful term, pigfuck.
Rated 13 Sep 2012
70
50th
The least entertaining PTA film I've seen (haven't seen Hard Eight). Masterfully (lol) crafted, but it just drags at parts. Hoffman and Phoenix are unbelievable, but it's not enough to make me love the film.
Rated 14 Jul 2013
75
66th
I find myself engrossed by its hypnotic rhythms without fully comprehending what it all meant. Anderson has undoubtedly crafted another beautiful film, indelibly marked by his one-of-a-kind auteurist vision and which boasts a treasure trove of amazing performances but it's also often painfully and frustratingly elusive in its bullheaded obliqueness. I need too see it again to have a fully formed opinion.
Rated 25 Nov 2012
92
94th
There's top-quality performances, wonderful cinematography, a well-crafted script, and (as always with PTA) confident and self-assured direction, but what really makes this film is whether the relationship between the two main characters is intriguing, dynamic, and, despite its slight-left-of-centre oddballness, believable -- and the answer to all that is a resounding yes.
Rated 27 Nov 2013
80
68th
Very little is explained. It's not hard to follow what is happening, but when things are happening I think the most common response has to be, "What the fuck? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?"
Rated 17 Feb 2013
86
84th
Wish I could say I loved this, it's beautiful to look at, has wonderful performances, it has so and many rich scenes full of complexity. Yet, despite a clear running theme and a reasonable amount of character development, I can't help but feel it lacks cohesion. I think it's because the characters, interesting though they may be, ring a little false. Or maybe because I just don't find any of them sympathetic enough to love, nor heinous enough to hate. Still really enjoyed it, but wanted more.
Rated 22 Sep 2012
20
2nd
It was like they were shooting it without a script. While they were thinking of what to do next, they just pulled in for a head shot. And then when they thought of what to do, it was all over the place when it wasn't slow and plodding and as neurotic as its characters, particularly Phoenix and Hoffman--neither of which generated any sympathy or offered something with which to identity. Amy Adams was the sole voice of sanity, but she was kept on the periphery. Completely pointless.
Rated 24 Feb 2013
75
40th
This movie is an excellent piece of art. It also has some of the finest acting I have seen all year. In fact maybe some of the best acting I've seen in a decade. I also am a huge fan of Paul Thomas Anderson. The reason this movie got rated so low is that, despite all of the great acting, the movie really didn't go anywhere for me. I also thought that Amy Adams didn't do as well as she usually does in most movies. Hoffman and Phoenix were just absolutely stellar though.
Rated 18 Jul 2014
78
89th
(Viewed on 15/05/13)Like There Will Be Blood, this film essentially depicts a kind of power struggle between two extremists-outsiders who are trying to assert their will on the outside world, but in The Master the source of this desire for power is not really explained or even grounded in any obvious psychological or metaphysical schema. P.T.A's use of close ups to suggest ambiguous internal states is excellent though, and the push-pull dynamic of the central relationship is compellingly drawn.
Rated 18 Aug 2021
80
74th
Every PTA movie comes with generally unanimous critical and public praise. "The Master" is no worse a demonstration of craft as PTAs best, and the thinly veiled depiction of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology does make a compelling topic in his hands, yet this lacks in the gruesome catharsis of "There Will Be Blood" and the unfolded, chaotic mesh of "Magnolia". This one has the journey, but no destination.
Rated 17 Feb 2013
4
34th
Was pretty excited for this and the acting is the only real thing I'll take/remember form it. Phoenix is just brilliant. The movie itself just doesn't seem to have much to say and wasn't all that interesting.
Rated 01 Jun 2020
60
42nd
A lot of Paul Thomas Anderson’s films have a slower pace than most films, and they usually work in spite of that. With 3 more of his films to go, this one is currently at the bottom with Phantom Thread, which is a testament to how consistently good of a filmmaker he is. The story here is fine, but starts to feel long towards the end of its 2+ hour runtime. I do love the odd score, somewhat similar to the score in Punch-Drunk Love. Phoenix and Hoffman are unsurprisingly very good. Quality film.
Rated 14 Mar 2013
65
71st
Many fine moments, but the central theme was more or less indecipherable for this viewer. That it also repeats many key elements from the director's previous film suggests that the wish to live up to the earlier masterpiece may in fact have functioned as an obstacle that interfered with the aesthetic process. And the critical plaudits this film has received also seem like they may be a carry-over from THERE WILL BE BLOOD. A course of deprogramming all round may be the best prescription.
Rated 28 Oct 2014
4
63rd
Few movies are as beautiful to look at as The Master; even less the ones that deal with the incessant search for one's identity and place in a world that has lost all legitimacy. Phoenix plays a schlemiel straight out of Pynchon's pages but despite the strength of its lead characters the movie has trouble keeping the gripping pace which it grabs you in the first hour. I have to admit that with repeated viewings my appreciation for it would only increase, though.
Rated 26 Sep 2012
4
43rd
An acting tour de force in service of a stubbornly cold, detached film that seems to go out of its way to keep viewers at arm's length. Definitely not an equal followup to There Will Be Blood. (And, by the way, anyone who goes in hoping for some kind of Scientology expose is going to be pretty disappointed. The cult in the film can be a stand in for any cult you want it to be.)
Rated 24 Feb 2013
97
96th
I don't really have a standard again which to hold this, a similar dilemma to the one I faced when judging Saving Private Ryan. You can't put it in a category and say it's better than this and worse than that, because it's just so unique.
Rated 28 Mar 2013
20
2nd
So boring I completely lost my focus.
Rated 28 Sep 2012
90
88th
I'll say it again: Phoenix & Hoffman are geniuses of their craft. Following their portrayals of such polar,yet completely inter-woven characters is an unsettling whirlwind of two men seeking the answers within the void. The plot is extremely intricate, but like their characters seems a bit lost & incoherent. Perhaps my unenlightened mind has a lot more thinking to do, but I'll end on this: The Master is like an out of body experience, powerful yet difficult to articulate.
Rated 06 Aug 2018
90
93rd
A deeply Freudian analysis of master/slave and id/ego/superego within the context of, basically, a Scientology origins film.
Rated 11 Apr 2013
70
32nd
Finely shot and masterfully acted, but the plot just feels ultimately hollow. It meanders back and forth and never really gets anywhere. Disappointing.
Rated 14 Feb 2013
80
86th
Musically a wonderful film. That part in the middle where they go to Laura Derns house is both jazz and classical music that comes together in an outstanding way. I think this film is really one of few films where the score and the images intertwine whereas normally the score is supplementary. And the images are wonderful as well. The scenes on the boat and the shore are impeccable. And the story; a man with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder meets L. Ron Hubbard.
Rated 31 Aug 2018
88
83rd
A film that proudly portrays substance and character to draw out thought-provoking abstracts. Little and subtle direction choices, along with crafty performances, make this a compelling watch. Of course Radiohead x PTA produce a beautiful score.
Rated 18 Nov 2012
78
44th
Did I admire this movie? Absolutely. Did I like this movie? Well, it's all a bit Stockholm syndrome, really. About two hours in, you start to feel some warmth towards the movie, but you still know deep down that it's never going to reciprocate. The Master doesn't care about you. Clever metaphor, or ridiculous waffle? I don't even know.
Rated 11 Mar 2013
35
16th
I have no idea what was good about this movie.
Rated 22 Oct 2012
80
44th
My least favorite PT Anderson film. Painfully methodical, but the characters are really compelling and interesting.
Rated 03 Sep 2019
80
81st
PTA applies his sprawling style not to individual people this time, but to abstract representations of universal human desires that are trillions of years old. Mesmerizing even at its most obscure.
Rated 29 May 2013
85
93rd
A stunning, unsettling psychological study, benefiting from masterful performances by Hoffman and especially Phoenix, in a career-defining turn as the delinquent Freddie. PTA's writing is as sharp and subversive as ever, while his camera does all sorts of things I want for my own (non-existent) movies. And if the film feels slow at times or unrewarding at others, we--well, I was ultimately compensated by the sheer power of the performances and, well, the pure CINEMATICNESS of it all.
Rated 18 Sep 2012
73
32nd
The more pretentious critics will be certain Anderson is saying something profound here since they assume brilliant directors & extraordinary actors r incapable of producing anything but; however there's nothing insightful here. Maybe it's b/c Hoffman never seems like more than a charlatan collecting yet another disciple that Phoenix's reasons 4 such persevering devotion seem so slight, but the central relationship is repetitive & never gets deeper than cults r shady & exploit the need 2 belong
Rated 23 Feb 2013
75
85th
It's a beautifully told and filmed story about a troubled man who wanders through life searching for his place in the world. At first it seems he's found one with the cult, but having a master proves to be too hard on him. I liked the film quite a bit, the acting is splendid and the music wonderful. A minor fault is its pacing, some scenes tend to drag.
Rated 08 Jun 2013
65
16th
Great photography and an as-expected-great Phoenix. But that's about it.
Rated 23 Feb 2013
73
44th
Alternately compelling and infruiating film will undoubtedly reward multiple viewings, but at face value, saga of the beginnings of an off-beat religious sect recalls Kubrick's precise tracking shots and staging, but ultimately the screenplay's grip on the material (and what it wants to say) is far too obscure and mercurial. Strongest assets are its performances, with Phoenix blazing a comeback trail in style, and Hoffman's charismatic, multi-faceted performance arguably the best of his career.
Rated 13 Jan 2021
60
35th
Does have the PTA elegance I've come to expect, but also plenty of the Hollywood tedium I try to avoid. And man, why so many words?
Rated 25 Sep 2012
100
98th
There's never been a more perfect time to bestow the title of "flawed masterpiece" to a film than Paul Thomas Anderson's anti-epic The Master. I've never seen such an unsatisfying film that was so perfect in composition. Each frame is exquisite, the performances are sublime, the music is intoxicating, hypnotic, and understated. Yet nothing ever seems to add up to a coherent narrative experience. Although this is, paradoxically, a source of triumphant brilliance. Anderson is simply peerless.
Rated 21 Nov 2012
70
56th
Brilliant performances inhabiting empty vessels; beautiful images inhabiting vacant settings; technically brilliant; unsatisfying.
Rated 05 Dec 2015
90
92nd
A thoughtfully constructed and absorbing film. Like perhaps all good films, there are no secreted answers and it befuddles as much as it reveals. In what has become his trademark style, PTA presents to us rich and nuanced observances, and for our part we must open up and experience as much of it as possible. I welcome such filmmaking that broaches empathy for cryptic figures and organisations that are mythologised, feared and pilloried, just as I welcome the challenge of understanding them.
Rated 01 Oct 2012
100
98th
A rewatch of this film confirmed that it is undoubtedly PTA's best. A beautifully volatile love story, and also a masterpiece. (two times)
Rated 16 Jan 2014
70
79th
Phoenix and Hoffman put on stunning performances and it is beautifully shot and although the themes are interesting, I felt the execution was lacking. Still well worth seeing, just not amazeballs like some of PTA's other entries.
Rated 08 Nov 2012
1
0th
To quote the Coen's A Serious Man: "Embrace the Mystery." Okay, it's elusive, it's hard to crack, and challenging by far, but even after reviews had me expecting a boring 2+ hour drag, I got what I think in time will be considered a masterpiece (hurr hurr). And even if you disagree, there isn't a lot of wiggle room on the fact that on a technical level, it's perfect. Some shots will make film students want to kill themself because they'll never do anything that good. Score is not a grade.
Rated 22 Oct 2012
80
87th
There is no resolution, no climax, no catharsis... there's just a painfully awkward scene of Hoffman singing to Pheonix. But it is painfully awkward in a good way, something that PTA does really, really well. Anyone expecting a standard "story" will be disappointed - but if you are interested in simply observing two actors at the top of their game through the eyes of a director at the top of his, "The Master" is quite an experience.
Rated 03 Feb 2013
10
93rd
Quite remarkable.
Rated 22 Nov 2016
70
64th
Hoffman and Phoenix are sublime; the relationship formed between their characters is almost tangible. The cinematography too is wonderful. The story, however, wanders around a little aimlessly, much like Freddie Quell. [Library loan]
Rated 05 Mar 2017
90
70th
I would probably be more helpful here if I understood why exactly I liked this movie. I think coming off of Almost Famous I spent most of this movie in awe of Philip Seymour Hoffman and mourning his untimely death.
Rated 28 Aug 2017
78
57th
An odd film, lacking a story which ever really gets its hooks into you, despite having several captivating and well-constructed scenes. Anderson gets the spellbinding performances you would expect out of his A-list trio of Phoenix, Hoffman and Adams, but bizarrely, supporting stars like Dern and Malek seem to have no material and no reason to be there. The script is also a little too meandering during its second half. Feels halfway between a proper story and a collection of Magnolia vignettes.
Rated 10 May 2015
77
66th
For as long as I've wanted to be a filmmaker, I've been a ride or die advocate for digital over celluloid, but the Master softened me a bit. Beautiful and massive in scale, if a bit excessive and dense. RIP, Hoffman.
Rated 22 May 2021
95
94th
Paul Thomas Anderson's most thoughtful piece for sure. Also an aesthetic attempt with the beautiful cinematography and art direction.
Rated 31 Jul 2013
94
79th
This movie is twisted and beautiful. I don't think one can appreciate this movie without having some knowledge at least of what Trauma feels like. Mental instability needs to have been felt, examined and understood on a personal level to come to terms with the characters and their relationships in this movie. The differences that we rely on in other people to reflect our own lives and also the knowledge that everything that we believe in could be false on all accounts. The puzzle that is life.
Rated 07 Oct 2012
90
90th
Brilliant not just due to the performances, but also the unorthodox story-telling that PTA is famous for. The Master to dog/slave theme runs throughout: Dodd to his followers (or rather, to controlling others; he is not loyal to the Cause), sex and booze to Freddie, Dodd's wife to Dodd. The characters never break free from their respective Masters, and PTA delivers a story of two men whose friendship would never last because of those unbreakable chains.
Rated 15 Feb 2013
85
67th
The Master displays one wonderfully disorienting scene of intrigue after another and continues to do so without ever reaching a cohesive whole regarding any of its subjects even as it explores them so interestingly (and it does so on purpose, for whatever reason). I read many comparisons to Kubrick, and true his films were also often enigmatic and profound, yet never did they feel lacking, as this one does.
Rated 16 Oct 2012
90
85th
Paul Thomas Anderson is perhaps my favourite contemporary director, but I'll admit that I found the Master slightly disappointing. So I'm torn in two directions. This may be my least (or second-least) favourite P.T.A. film, while also being one of the top films so far this year. The beginning of the movie is subtle and quiet and captivating, but as the film goes on it becomes clear how weak the plot is. I liked it, but also wish that it had saved itself before it got lost in the Arizona.
Rated 23 Dec 2012
92
95th
About the first 85% of the movie is remarkable - wonderfully-constructed, beautifully-shot, and scarily enigmatic, with two of the best lead performances in some time. It gets a little more problematic as it approaches the ending, but any criticisms would have more to do with audience expectations than anything in the film itself. One of the best movies of the year.
Rated 20 May 2020
90
67th
It was so nice of the Academy to finally give Phoenix the Oscar he deserved for this.
Rated 08 Nov 2012
95
97th
The Master did a fantastic job of disorienting me with beautiful photography and stellar acting. It definitely had that surreal, dreamy feel of a Paul Thomas Anderson film.
Rated 18 Nov 2012
80
88th
This is essentially ambient film-making. Not quite the film of the year, but definitely the best shot & acted. It was never going to be as good as TWBB, so shut the fuck up.
Rated 20 Nov 2012
83
85th
'The Master' is itself a bit of a Rorschach test for viewers, its narrative touching on a variety of crucial thematic beats -- cult of personality, mental illness, trauma, power & control -- without ever making clear what it all amounts to. Thus, it's a film that represents many things to different viewers, and for others, it represents nothing. As such, it's certainly PTA's most esoteric piece of work, but crafted with an indelible beauty that pierces the soul.
Rated 05 Feb 2013
83
92nd
Amazing film-making, superb acting....storyline never really hit home 100% but still a great film
Rated 06 Jun 2020
75
74th
If you want to watch an extraordinary performance from Joaquin Phoenix do not waste your time with Joker or any other movie. Just watch The Master.
Rated 28 Jul 2020
80
51st
Nerdwriter's video on this film made me expect a film more about brainwashing. This was a nice surprise, fragile and human. I find the main character oddly lovable. Comparing to There Will Be Blood and Phantom Thread, this lets the viewer more free to interpret. Leaves a nice taste after. IMHO.
Rated 28 Feb 2013
8
82nd
Juaquin Phoenix provided an amazing performance, and the film making was technically flawless, but ultimately the film felt empty. It was good, but it did not reach the level that PTA's other films do.
Rated 22 Dec 2012
99
99th
An intoxicating film about intoxication. Well, it's about addiction and cult and sex and alcoholism and so much more but it really reels you in, luring you into a feeling of intoxication and dizziness. You lose track of time, you don't know what's happening - at one point it feels like you end up rooting for a character in what you know as the audience to be an unwinnable task. Overpowered by fantastic performances from Hoffman and Phoenix who both bring totally different vibes to the film.
Rated 04 Dec 2019
72
63rd
There are some great sequences, especially earlier. The acting is absolutely stellar. Interestingly, my favorite among them, Hoffman, is probably the one I find least convincing here (seems to be doing a great parody of his character which may be the point). There seem to be many interesting themes and threads that are so intertwined that it was hard to take away a lasting impression. Anderson seems to be freewheeling here may be a little too much.
Rated 08 Mar 2013
79
78th
Two strong performances and little else.
Rated 23 Nov 2012
6
35th
22.11.12, akmerkez.- beautiful shots and impressive acting but unappealing story. it seems to me that the film is made to be visually so perfect that it ended up with being incapable of forming a coherent totality.
Rated 15 Jan 2021
100
96th
Cults, insanely talented cast and poetic shots oh my!
Rated 08 Jun 2021
80
77th
I was riveted to the screen for the entirety of the film, but was waiting for something to happen, and nothing ever seemed to. The cast was fantastic. The characters were well-written. PTA wrote incredible dialogue that had me searching for meaning and subtext and ascribing themes to the film... but nothing is there. It's a whole bunch of "wha...?" But maybe all of that is the point. Maybe this is all one giant troll by PTA. The Master (Hoffman) is full of shit, and maybe this film is too
Rated 17 Sep 2012
82
91st
First off, beautiful cinematography and outstanding performances by Phoenix, Hoffman, and Adams. As for the substance...it's generally been maligned for not really making a point or having a great plot. I disagree and find that it's an excellent study of the relationship between Dodd and Freddie. It's a relationship unlike any I've ever seen, sort of father/son; friends; teacher/student; lovers even. At once it fits all these categories and none at all
Rated 27 Dec 2015
98
93rd
What happened to many of the men of the G.I. Generation when they came home, the giddy false promises and the violent, repressive conformity and paranoia of the postwar world...it's a difficult, funny, beautiful, and often painful film. Pairs well as a portrait of a lost California with Mike Davis's classic history of L.A., City of Quartz.
Rated 29 Sep 2012
90
81st
A movie I respect more than like. It is impeccably well directed and acted, but the story just didn't draw me in like other P.T. Anderson films have. Joaquin Phoenix's performance is difficult to watch yet fascinating; a portrait of what happens when a disturbed man is pushed to the extreme by a religious cult. Update: After a second viewing I found the film to be much more rewarding. Like Anderson's other films, it is thought provoking and encourages discussion and debate.
Rated 06 Feb 2013
2
59th
Except from the superb acting and cinematography, The Master is a mediocre film, due to a poor script and story. I'm positive PTA isn't as talented as many people make him out to be. A damn shame, because he had all the tools and the right actors. If a director [PTA], in the editing room, has no clear idea what the film will be about or what to tell his audience, you know you f-cked up. It seems PTA makes film merely using his intuition, like Malick. The opposite of Kubrick. I prefer the latter.
Rated 07 Feb 2013
70
59th
Joaquin Phoenix' best performance so far. He transforms into something completely repulsive and yet fascinating. Philip Seymour Hoffman is of course also great as the both lovable and scary scientologist, but the movie becomes a bit boring because it's lack of a clear plotline.
Rated 03 Mar 2014
71
32nd
Although Joaquín Phoenix gave an awesome performance, the film was more or less disappointing.
Rated 20 Jan 2013
63
54th
PTA takes the confrontations of TWBB to post-WWII America, in this disturbingly confusing but visceral collection of mind tests, of duels between science (science?) and our most primal desires (to fuck, to kill, to drink, to rage), and of scenes that try to absorb, with such a provocative morality and absurdly talented actors on screen, the process of cure and domestication. Great father-and-son, God-and-men, master-and-disciple -- kid-and-puppy -- psychological battle.
Rated 20 Feb 2013
50
56th
The movie was somewhat entertaining but I was disappointed by its pointlessness. It felt like after every scene, the movie just shrugs off the scene's themes and ideas and just continues on with the very simple story, making the efforts ultimately meaningless.
Rated 23 Mar 2013
94
94th
Continues to grow on me. The film displays uncommon levels of parallelisms, layers and double entendres. Even its structure is a critique on itself: the story seems unresolved, but Phoenix's character matures to some kind of purpose; while the Master preaches time is resolved, and we get in our own way. The film's story and construction are constantly at war within itself, kinda like its characters.
Rated 05 Jan 2020
93
85th
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix give not only the best acting of their careers but some of the best acting ever. A touching story about trying to find a place in this world. At its heart its a character study that sticks strictly to studying its character, even if it might have helped to do more with plot. Or sometimes change up its molasses like pace. But it doesn't greatly affect the work of art that this film is
Rated 21 Aug 2017
63
24th
Great acting. Less good film overall
Rated 28 Apr 2014
5
70th
definitely more strange than i was expecting, which is a benefit of abstaining from almost all spoilers beforehand. aside from the oh-so-subtle lampooning of religious cults, it's really all too opaque for me, especially as it comes to a close. though it certainly has some gripping sequences. probably deserves another viewing.
Rated 27 Sep 2012
67
50th
It doesn't need to be said that The Master is a disappointment because of PTA's resume, because it would be a disappointment regardless of who directed it (ok, aside from the stock ones like Bay or Boll or something). I thoroughly enjoyed the gorgeous scenery and the uniformly excellent performances, but the movie never grabbed me or pulled me in. I would think this was a problem with me as a viewer (what with the phenomenal reviews), but the film really could've been something special.
Rated 04 Mar 2013
65
11th
i don't know why i couldn't get on board with this film. i feel like i should love it...but i didn't.
Rated 12 Sep 2020
80
95th
Amazing performances all round.
Rated 26 Feb 2013
75
65th
This is very well shot and exceedingly well acted, but I can't help but feel this is not on par for PTA. It's undoubtedly a good film, but the plot and in particular Phoenix' character was incredibly hard to get a hold of. Some incredible sequences and great writing don't change the fact that this story failed to captivate me fully at the best of times and left me slightly bemused most of the time.

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