• R, 2 hr. 18 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Paul Thomas Anderson
    In Theaters:
    Sep 14, 2012 Limited
    On DVD:
    Feb 26, 2013
  • The Weinstein Company

Critic Review - Chicago Sun-Times

"The Master" is fabulously well-acted and crafted, but when I reach for it, my hand closes on air.

September 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (52)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Comments

Seb M

Seb Moore

this seems to be the problem that all of the negative reviews have. i hope i dont feel that way when i see it

Sep 20 - 04:03 AM

Steven  W.

Steven Wallace

"fabulously well-acted and crafted" seems like a sufficient reason to see anyway.

Sep 20 - 05:59 AM

Bertram Krogh

Bertram Krogh

I had really hoped you would love it :/ Anyway, looking forward to it. Ebert is the most important critic, but not the only one.

Sep 20 - 06:18 AM

William J.

William Johnsten

Why is he the most important critic? Just because he's the most known? Honestly, I think he's overrated when compared to other critics.

Sep 20 - 11:00 AM

Onion Rovirosa

Onion Rovirosa

your are overrrated

Sep 20 - 08:47 PM

J. Bogard

J. Bogard

your English is overrated

Sep 21 - 06:58 AM

Austin Bond

Austin Bond

Because he is the most popular and influential critic, he is the most important critic. I don't think he's overrated at all; he writes great essays on every film he sees.

Sep 23 - 05:49 PM

Geraldo R.

Geraldo Rivera

Well, at least he gave it 2 and a half which is almost good. And from his description of it, it seems like movie I would like.

Sep 20 - 07:20 AM

Gabor E.

Gabor E

Then his review served its purpose - he was able to express why he didn't like the film and why other people might like it.

Sep 20 - 09:22 AM

Greg Dinskisk

Greg Dinskisk

Precisely, which is why I adore his reviews, even if I don't always agree with him.

Sep 20 - 01:46 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Ebert's reviews are better understood after it's been seen first whether it's positive or negative when at the end it's still just a movie!

Sep 26 - 01:31 PM

Ricky Duke

Ricky Duke

I would like to ask him personally if I should see it. Although written criticism has been his life, he became famous for his television show where he gave a thumbs up or thumbs down. About 99 percent of his 2 1/2 star reviews translate into "thumbs down," I can't possibly think he would recommend that people not see this movie. Of course, he hated the final scene in "There Will Be Blood."

Sep 20 - 07:33 AM

Shiva the God of Death

Noah F

I also hated the final scene in "There Will Be Blood".

Sep 20 - 12:21 PM

Cole Jaeger

Cole Jaeger

He didn't hate the last scene did he? I mean he gave it 3.5/4 and his criticism seemed to be that it was lacking on Daniel's background.

Sep 20 - 02:26 PM

Seb M

Seb Moore

he also criticised the absense of a community and women to the story, which i completely disagree with

Sep 20 - 04:31 PM

Goliat Llull

Goliat Llull

Ebert is one of the most intelligent, honest and snobless critic alive.

Sep 20 - 08:22 AM

DanielForth

daniel forth

...

Sep 20 - 08:26 AM

??????? ????????

??????? ????????

BLA BLA BLA Ebert just doesnt get it.

Sep 20 - 11:18 AM

Thomas Z.

Thomas Zizzo

Wow I'm shocked, Ebert is usually a fan of ambiguous artsy visually spectacular films. Hm. He just didnt get it, its the kind of film that demands a 2nd viewing. Roger needs to see it again.

Sep 20 - 01:37 PM

Bryan S.

Bryan Swan

What does that even mean?

Sep 20 - 05:00 PM

Ann Wundrow

Ann Wundrow

I've been perplexed by Ebert's reviews for the past year or two. I mean, he gave four stars to Prometheus(!) when just a few years ago he would have ripped that tripe to shreds for having an Idiot Plot (among other problems). Ebert used to be my favorite critic but I feel his taste in movies are becoming pretty dubious.

Sep 20 - 07:29 PM

John Rothfield

John Rothfield

I've been pretty much relying Roger since the mid 1980s. But when he rates The Master a full point less than Ted and a 1/2 point below Magic Mike, I don't know whether to be sad or angry.

Sep 20 - 07:35 PM

Tyler Kirk

Tyler Kirk

Ted and Magic Mike are completely different films from this and really do not deserve comparison.

Sep 20 - 08:02 PM

Alex Thomas

Alex Thomas

Exactly. And they are both better than this film anyway!

Oct 27 - 07:30 PM

Shawn Watson

Shawn Watson

Ebert says of "There Will Be Blood", "I am unsure of it's greatness". Ebert says of "The Master", "It is often spellbinding, but what does it intend to communicate". Ebert seems to be perplexed by the films of P.T. Anderson. I need to read some of his other reviews of P.T.'s films to see if there is a pattern here, but I for one love the ambiguity that P.T. instills in his films. For example, the rain of frogs at the end of "Magnolia". I do not need a fully comprehendable ending to a film for validation of it's greatness.

Sep 20 - 09:17 PM

Subhra R.

Subhra Roy

It's not a pattern. He gave brilliant reviews to Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Punch-Drunk Love.

Oct 30 - 11:09 PM

Shawn Watson

Shawn Watson

I also believe the reason Ebert and others hated the ending to "There Will Be Blood" so much is, they were unsure about the manner in which the final scene was meant to be taken. I found it to be one of the most darkly comic moments in the history of cinema. I have rarely laughed so hard and so long as I did at the sheer obsurdity and insanity of that climax.

Sep 20 - 10:05 PM

Karl Koveal

Karl Koveal

My friend Chris and I completely agree with you.

Sep 21 - 09:36 AM

w@velength

In Your Dreams

What's so confusing about the final scene in There Will Be Blood? Closure with his deaf "son" and violent irony unleashed upon a tainted religious zealot. Plainview gets the last laugh. The end.

Oct 4 - 05:37 PM

Marilyn Mangan

Marilyn Mangan

Maybe that's because they're both con artists who are so good at their craft that Lancaster & Freddie ARE air, thin air. Roger, a mystic like Hoffmann who sees 'trillions' of years and a mystic like Phoenix who is Kerouac redux aching for more road time are riffing off each other like Falstaff & young King Henry V. And Dodd loves Quell with that love that dare not speak its name.

Sep 21 - 04:39 PM

Shawn Watson

Shawn Watson

In Ebert's review of "There Will Be Blood" he says, "But "There Will Be Blood" is not perfect, and in its imperfections we may see its reach exceeding its grasp".
It appears to me as though Ebert has the exact same criticisms with "The Master".
Go Figure...

Sep 21 - 06:24 PM

Critique Threatt

Brian R

There Will Be Blood was a crappy movie with a crappy heartless, selfish main character. This film deals with scientology but doesn't dig deeper or explain the picture's motives. The last PTA film I enjoyed was Punch Drunk Love.

Sep 21 - 08:11 PM

C.S. Loberg

C.S. Loberg

Yeah, and the whole point of some of the characters just flew waaaay over your little head.

Sep 22 - 03:41 AM

Shawn Watson

Shawn Watson

As Roger Ebert once said, "You're insufficiently evolved as a moviegoer".

Sep 22 - 07:20 AM

C.S. Loberg

C.S. Loberg

I find Roger's somewhat negative review the best of the bunch in this category. Some of these reviews are so superficial as to be inane. His at least comes up with some decent stuff about the whole thing without trying to sound pretentious.

Sep 22 - 03:40 AM

Mike Walsh

Mike Walsh

I agree with Ebert to a degree. He gave it 2.5 stars out of 4, and if you guys hadn't seen the movie, I'd put more weight in that factor than Rotten's calling it a negative review.

It's one of those movies where the sum of its parts might outweigh the whole. Amazing acting, directing, music and cinematography, yet it might not be an amazing movie.

It certainly requires a second watch.

Sep 22 - 05:07 PM

Matthew Kerslake

Matthew Kerslake

I'm pretty sure the critic decides whether it is Fresh or Rotten, not RT. By the read of his review Ebert liked the film but felt that PTA was, as "one of our great directors," underachieving.

Sep 22 - 08:24 PM

Harry S.

Harry Schwarz

PT Anderson has crafted a masterpiece of a film, layered with rich cinematography, and top notch acting. The Master is about control and power, as much as anything else. Philip Seymour Hoffman give a very nuanced and detail acting job as the megalomaniac Dodd . Joaquin Phoenix is simply astounding, as the alcoholic Freddie, floating through life with a deteriorating brain, trying to find a sense of love from anyone. Freddie is given program after program, to try and convert him to the "Cause". But, they all fail to give him that religious feeling he desires. Then the battle for Fred's soul begins.Dod's wife, who confides at a pressure moment that maybe Dodd's so called cult is a failure, and that Dodd should just quit. Later on she tries to convince Freddie to settle down and stop drinking. Freddie at first agrees, but then goes back to drinking the very next morning. He is rebel. A rebel who won't relent. This is the defining theme of the film. Dodd and his wife feel insecure in themsleves, and must now make Fredie understand.

Sep 22 - 09:48 PM

John Brown

John Brown

I often find your reviews to be biased, ignorant and smug; not this time. I agree with your review 100%.

Sep 23 - 07:37 AM

Ryan Hibbett

Ryan Hibbett

And now Ebert can sleep at night because you agree with him.

Sep 26 - 10:00 PM

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