Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Ambyr Childers, Jesse Plemons, Rami Malek, Kevin J. O'Connor and Madisen Beaty
I have a sketchy track record with PT Anderson movies. I generally liked his movies. There are some that I out right hate like Magnolia. The Master has divided audiences since it was released last month. It divided my audiences when I saw it. The movie needs to marinate after you see it to make your judgment.
Freddie Quell (Phoenix) is an alcoholic former Navy seaman that is struggling to adjust to civilian life after WWII. He bounces from job to job until he stowaway on a boat that belongs to Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman). The Dodd family is celebrating the marriage of the daughter, Elizabeth (Childers) and Clark (Malek). Freddie is being introduced to the world of The Master as Dodd calls himself. He is an author of the Cause that is a form of hypnosis that inducing past live regressions. The Master wants to spread his message and make Freddie his guinea pig.
I saw the film yesterday and at first I loved most of the movie, but felt dissatisfied with the ending. It was very abrupt. I was left hanging. Now, I feel that the acting was far superior that the movie as a whole. I thoroughly enjoyed PSH's performance as the charismatic Dodd who tries to tame the unpredictable, hotheaded Freddie who acts like a bratty ten year old.
After Phoenix's "hiatus" from acting, I was concerned about what he will do here. I was mixed with him. He was brilliant in certain moments, but sometimes he would be going off the rails and lose me. I was looking at him and his choices. I asked myself, is he a hunchback? Does he have Bell's palsy? I could barely understand what he was saying a good portion of the time.
This movie is described as the Scientology movie. I don't believe that it is. I deals with the genesis of a religion. People thought that Christianity was a cult. The same can be said of Mormonism, Kabblah, etc. As I said in my Religulous review, I am not a big fan of organized religion. The Master's way of entering your mind can be on the lines of brainwashing. The people are free to believe what they will.
There were only five people in the theater I was in. A pair of older ladies left after Dodd's wife, Peggy (Adams) jerked Dodd off in the bathroom. The bangled lady left when Dodd was spreading his message about the evolution of The Cause. The Asian guy left two minutes before the movie ended. I could tell that this movie is not everyones cup of tea. I found myself bored with the movie. I expected a little more with it. I was slightly disappointed with the film overall.