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5,772 Ratings

The Master

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
United States, 2012


In the years after WWII, an American intellectual creates a religion. When he meets a troubled drifter, he invites the man to help him spread the new faith. As their congregation increases, the drifter begins to question the religion he once accepted and the mentor who gave his life direction.

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The Master Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Awards & Festivals

Venice Film Festival

2012 | 2 wins including: Best Director

Academy Awards

2013 | 3 nominations including: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Paul Thomas Anderson’s ambitious, powerful and ultimately elegiac masterpiece centres on the question of whether man is, in fact, an animal… It all ends cryptically – and hauntingly. A mysterious phone call, a wistful serenade, an unseen goodbye. Repeat viewings confirm that this singular creation of Dodd was indeed Hoffman’s apotheosis, which would be apt, and even funny, if it weren’t so, so sad.
August 23, 2016
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[My theory that Freddy is actually a dog] was seemingly confirmed by a scene in which Freddie, coming home to Dodd’s house after a spell in prison, hugs his “master” and is then wrestled to the ground. As the two roll around on the residence’s front lawn, playfully grappling with each other and laughing with abandon… it is difficult for the viewer to comprehend this scene as in any way realistic if it is not understood that Joaquin Phoenix is in fact playing the part of a pooch.
March 14, 2015
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It’s an immaculately photographed film, but on a decidedly more miniaturized pictorial scale than the grandiosity Anderson has been building and refining throughout his career… With its lengthy scrutiny of human faces, its flexible telephoto master shots, and its restrained, un-showy production design, The Master finds the appropriate visual matches for this fragile attention to acting.
March 25, 2014
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What are people saying?

  • lbunuel's rating of the film The Master

    The first half of this is my favourite piece of filmmaking by PTA. He has managed something unique - and surreptitiously haunting - as he displays the pieces of his puzzle. The second half, as the pieces come together, is a formulaic bore.

  • ig_____or's rating of the film The Master

    Just proves how Joaquin Phoenix is one of the greatest actors alive: the way he embodies this tragic, emotionally unstable sailor, with his arch-back, hands on waist, baggy clothes and heavy expression is pure art. Hoffman is exceptional too and Adams is a scene stealer. This search for guidance in life is timeless, it improved drastically on a second watch, I'd first seen it some years ago and wasn't that impressed.

  • C҉ă҉t҉ă҉l҉i҉n҉'s rating of the film The Master

    From an emotional standpoint this does nothing for me. The subject and its appendix themes didn't engage me, neither did the skull session circuitousness of the characters, nor Phoenix' "greatest performance put on film". It's not a matter of preferences, I'd say, but of logical reasoning: this is the best movie that ever came out of the United States.

  • Huey McEvoy's rating of the film The Master

    I find Joaquin Phoenix an extremely difficult actor to watch, coming as he does from the Christian Bale school of self-awareness. Filtering him out and focusing on PSH's potentially iconic Lancaster Dodd didn't help me either - a secondary character in search of both a first and final act. I feel a rewatch might be on the cards. Great 70mm photography, but Greenwood's score is a mess.

  • Zac Weber's rating of the film The Master

    Absolutely brilliant. There are so many great scenes powered by the remarkable performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix. This film had a powerful effect on me and instantly became one of my all-time favorites. If you're lucky enough to have the 65mm version screening at a theater near you, go.

  • mpho3's rating of the film The Master

    Brilliant interplay between Phoenix and PSH; magnificent use of Amy Adams, who has never particularly wowed me; and a waste of Jesse Plemons as egregious as Spielberg's waste of Joseph Gordon Levitt in Lincoln. "If we meet again the next life, you will be my sworn enemy, and I will show you no mercy." I really liked this film. While I would want none of their lives, I wish mine was as richly saturated in color.

  • Umberto L.'s rating of the film The Master

    The Great American Film of our time, that's what it is. It reminded me of countless classics! 'The Navigator', 'Sherlock Jr', 'The Cameraman', the sea-sequences from 'Some Like It Hot', and also 'Once Upon a Time in America', 'The Thin Red Line', 'There Will Be Blood'...

  • João Eça's rating of the film The Master

    After demystifying the american dream in all of his previous movies, PTA repeats the same trick with The Master, an honourable atempt at designing a dark post-war America, one where the atomic threat and a general feeling of emptiness are opposed to economic growth. But PTA fails again by not constructing any kind of conclusion and letting his movie become just another portrayal of an episode of America's history.

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