The Master

The Master

DVD - 2013
Average Rating:
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In post-World War II America, a naval veteran arrives home unsettled and uncertain of his future, until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.
Sexual content, graphic nudity and language.
Publisher: [New York, NY] : Weinstein Company ; Beverly Hills, CA : Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment, [2013]
ISBN: 9786314936860
6314936861
Call Number: DVD F MAST
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (138 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in

Opinion

From Library Staff

Director Antoine Fuqua and BBC critics selected one of the top 25 films of the 21st century.

List - Cult Films
SFPL_CharlotteS Aug 02, 2016

A traumatized, disillusioned WWII veteran falls under the spell of an L. Ron Hubbard-like man and his psychoanalytic method.


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Wootex
Jun 09, 2016

This movie kind of feels like it has a secret and it hints at it, but never quite gives you enough info to figure out what it's going for. I've seen it twice now, and I liked it more the 2nd time, but it remains a frustrating film.

c
clarencedavis
Apr 04, 2016

I had such high hopes for this movie, but it just didn't deliver. Hoffman's performance may be the only reason to sit through this film.

mcmurray777 Feb 06, 2016

Not easy to view, The Master is over two hours long. Difficult to sit through and understand, but if you watch the "extras" after you watch the movie, you'll have a better understanding. So, prepare to spend more than four hours on this. Even better, watch the documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief before you see The Master to fully comprehend what is happening. Lots of things were cut to get the movie down to 138 minutes.

Joaquin Phoenix plays a sex-obsessed, alcoholic WWII vet suffering from what we now call PTSD who somehow begins an association with Philip Seymore Hoffman's character, a leader of a movement called The Cause. This is obviously based on L. Ron Hubbard and his Dianetics phase.

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, son of Ernie Anderson of Ghoulardi fame.

An extra (at least on the Blu-ray copy) worth watching is a 1946 documentary on the treatment of soldiers returning from WWII suffering from "shell shock."

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Bruce1Perry
Sep 21, 2015

I expected so much more from the likes of these actors. I have appreciated all of them in other movies but this was a real stinker. The movie opens with Phoenix masturbating after having intercourse with a woman sand castle... there was NO point to this scene. The movie was depressing and bizarre and unfortunately we watched way too much of it waiting for something entertaining and/or intelligent to happen. After an hour we couldn't take the torture and finally shut it off. Hopefully this was not Hoffman's last movie. What a waste of time.

c
cameralover53
Sep 07, 2015

This movie is not “lightly entertaining”; if you are looking for fluff…forget about this. This is a story that unfolds slowly. There is no “action” blood or gore, just pure drama. The acting by Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix is extraordinary. The characters are complex, deeply flawed and realistic. Humanity is desperately looking for redemption. We continue to have faith that what seems “too good to be true” is true. Gurus draw into their web, naïve, blind seekers willing to place their faith and finances in their hands. It illustrates beautifully that one shred of hope humanity has for salvation, if only we believe strongly enough we won’t be disappointed or scammed. PSH’s character really does believe in what he spends his waking hours trying to accomplish on the nickel of wealthy benefactors. This is a study of human frailty, flaws and vulnerability.

0
0cho
Aug 24, 2015

Don’t bother with this movie. This is such a strange, bizarre and very long movie. The performances are good but it’s just a movie not worth watching.

m
Middle Town
Aug 17, 2015

I am a PT Anderson superfan, and incredibly fascinated by Scientology and its origins, but I just could not get into this movie. The performances (especially Hoffman) are amazing, but all together it was just odd and boring and blech.

DarArmour May 29, 2015

Quite tedious to follow. I always enjoy period films and the depiction of this era is well done. Great costuming , lighting , locations, furniture, etc. That being said, the subject matter is not for the weak of heart, who wish to be enlightened or entertained. In fact it's a bit disturbing. Snake oil for the brain , highly disturbed characters, mentally disturbed with not much rhyme or reason. To understand the character portrayals one should come armed with a degree in psychiatry . The rudimentary problems are fairly evident by the portrayal of awkward sexuality , war trauma, separation and PTSD, but there is never any resolution. An oddball film that will likely develop a cult following. Not my cup of tea.

THE MASTER is a period piece set in post-WWII America about an L. Ron Hubbard-type character, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman (a regular in Anderson's films), and his relationship to a messed-up, drunk veteran, played by Joaquin Phoenix. The movie looks great; it captures the vibe of the time. All the performances are great; not just Phoenix and Hoffman, but also Amy Adams and Laura Dern. Most importantly THE MASTER is filled with ambiguity (something rarely delivered up by a big Hollywood picture). The final two scenes are wonderful, sumptuous, loving celebrations of the ambiguous (a.k.a., Life).

n
Nursebob
Dec 11, 2014

WWII has just ended and able-bodied seaman Freddie Quell, alcoholic and violently psychotic, is set adrift in the American heartland by a military bureaucracy which doesn’t know how to deal with him. Unable to keep down even the most menial of jobs due to his paranoid outbursts, Freddie wanders in a perpetually drunken stupor until eventually falling in with The Cause, a fledgling cult which believes our current afflictions—-including war and disease—-can be cured through hypnosis and past life regression. The Cause’s intensely charismatic leader Lancaster Dodd, himself a man of questionable moral appetites, sees in Freddie’s crippling mental illness all the makings of a perfect acolyte. Claiming to be, among other things, a doctor, author, and nuclear physicist, Dodd (aka The Master) subjects Freddie to one humiliating “treatment” after another…aided in part by some particularly powerful homemade moonshine…until Quell becomes that most dangerous of creatures, the True Believer. But this is not a simple Master/Disciple relationship for just as Freddie’s sick mind cries out for direction and focus, so too does the egotistical Dodd’s megalomania demand faithful adoration. As The Cause comes under increased scrutiny by both the authorities and some of its own adherents, the cracks in Dodd’s mental armour begin to show forcing his relationship with Quell, who is finally having doubts of his own, to reach a new level of dependence. Saturated with a psychological edginess as well as a stifled eroticism, Paul Thomas Anderson’s piercing study on the cult mindset (Scientology itself is never mentioned, of course) features outstanding performances; most notably Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Quell and Dodd. Their emotional interplay is almost sexual in its intensity as each one feeds off the other while Dodd’s fully indoctrinated wife (a frightening Amy Adams) sits in judgement over both. Anderson’s attention to minute period details is impeccable while his cinematography propels the story forward whether it’s a widescreen panorama of restless waves or a slow pan across a parlour of enamoured believers. A brilliant and exhausting cinematic experience which leaves you wondering how, in an age of supposed enlightenment, something like this could even happen. I suppose it doesn’t matter whether it’s a pope or a new age guru, there will always be sheep in search of a flock.

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DanielTsigie
Jul 18, 2017

DanielTsigie thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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BloomFree
Aug 26, 2014

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mozifox Apr 14, 2014

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jimg2000
Aug 05, 2014

Pages of quotes from IMDb ... This quote sums up the film's hohum message: Lancaster Dodd: If you figure a way to live without serving a master, any master, then let the rest of us know, will you? For you'd be the first person in the history of the world.

aaa5756 Jul 23, 2013

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.”
― Albert Einstein

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Ron@Ottawa
Jul 06, 2013

Sexual Content: Brief nudity and a couple of sexual situations.

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