The Master


The Master

Critics Consensus

Smart and solidly engrossing, The Master extends Paul Thomas Anderson's winning streak of challenging films for serious audiences.



Total Count: 247


Audience Score

User Ratings: 50,324
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Movie Info

A striking portrait of drifters and seekers in post World War II America, Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master unfolds the journey of a Naval veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) who arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future - until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman). -- (C) Weinstein


Joaquin Phoenix
as Freddie Quell
Philip Seymour Hoffman
as Lancaster Dodd
Amy Adams
as Peggy Dodd
Laura Dern
as Helen Sullivan
Jesse Plemons
as Val Dodd
Ambyr Childers
as Elizabeth Dodd
Martin D. Dew
as Norman Conrad
Joshua Close
as Wayne Gregory
Jillian Bell
as Susan Gregory
Kevin J. Walsh
as Cliff Boyd
Lena Endre
as Mrs. Solstad
Madisen Beaty
as Doris Solstad
Patty McCormack
as Mildred Drummond
Mimi Cozzens
as Chi Chi Crawford
Price Carson
as V.A. Doctor
David Warshofsky
as Philadelphia Policeman
Mike Howard
as Rorschach Doctor
Bruce Goodchild
as V.A./Doctor Interview
Matt Hering
as V.A. Patient
Dan Anderson
as V.A. Patient
Andrew Koponen
as V.A. Patient
Jeffrey Jenkins
as V.A. Patient
Patrick Biggs
as V.A. Patient
Ryan Curtis
as V.A. Patient
Jay Laurence
as V.A. Patient
Abraxas Adams
as V.A. Patient
Tina Bruna
as Portrait Customer
Kevin Hudnell
as Portrait Customer
Hunter Craig
as Portrait Customer
Ryder Craig
as Portrait Customer
Rodion Salnikov
as Portrait Customer
Emily Gilliam
as Portrait Customer
Kody Klein
as Portrait Customer
Amy Ferguson
as Martha the Salesgirl
W. Earl Brown
as Fighting Businessman
Ariel Felix
as Filipino Worker
Vladimir Velasco
as Filipino Worker
John Mark Reyes
as Filipino Worker
Brian Fong
as Filipino Worker
Diane Cortejo
as Young Filipino Woman
Myrna de Dios
as Angry Filipino Woman
Katie Boland
as Young Woman
William O'Brien
as Hiring Hall Voice
Kevin J. O'Connor
as Bill William
Zan Overall
as Bartender
Barbara Brownell
as Margaret O'Brien
Brady Rubin
as Michelle Mortimer
Jill Andre
as Beatrice Campbell
Brigitte Hagerman
as New York Party Girl
Charley Morgan
as New York Lawyer
Barlow Jacobs
as James Sullivan
Liz Clare
as Dancer
Rose Fox
as Dancer
Kimberly Ables Jindra
as Processing Patient
Tom Knickerbocker
as Judge Phoenix
Emily Jordan
as British Receptionist
Amanda Caryn Jobbins
as British Receptionist
Napolean Ryan
as Pub Customer
Jennifer Neala Page
as Winn Manchester
Eban Schletter
as Band Member - Piano
Scott Rodgers
as Band Member - Drum
Melora Walters
as Band Member - Voice
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Critic Reviews for The Master

All Critics (247) | Top Critics (55) | Fresh (209) | Rotten (38)

Audience Reviews for The Master

  • Oct 08, 2015
    The look of the film and the acting are both stunning. The performance by Joaquin Phoenix is phenomenal (not to mention Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams). It is hard to understand why others rate it very low. I doubt it is such a problem with the plot; it does exist. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end. At each stage there are tensions that play out. Something about the content triggers a negative reaction in people. I will go so far as to say that this is not one of those things that come down to taste; The Master is an excellent film.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 28, 2015
    Very different in nature but original story. I did find it hard to follow and lost my interest several times. The acting is what stands out the most.
    Jarrin R Super Reviewer
  • Jan 01, 2015
    Freddie specializes in creating cocktails from anything he can get his hands on, be it torpedo propellent, photography chemicals, fertilizers, or paint thinner. His dad killed himself with alcoholism, he long lost his mom to a mental institution, and now he's just come home from the experience of killing other men in WWII. He copes with these traumas by staying inebriated, and yet the pain still drives him to violence. Yet Master Dodd, who tells readers in his cult book that man is not an animal and must do away with emotional impulses (and farting), sees more inspiration in Freddie than weakness. While being told to repent of animal instincts, Freddie is busy writing a note to the pretty woman sitting across from him: "Do you want to ****? :-)." Dodd is envious of Freddie's free and honest nature, beholden to no one, and most importantly, wholly unashamed of his animalistic self. Freddie, who apparently has missed out on experiencing an affectionate, intimate friendship, becomes Dodd's personal bartender and loyal protector against the world who challenges Dodd's ideas. It becomes apparent that the Master, the wise seer of truth, is himself a slave to two other dueling masters - booze loosens his strings, and his latest wife pulls them taught. Mrs. Dodd sees their fearless family friend as a threat to her dreams of success, and the Master has to find a reason to keep his song bird around. This reason, perhaps genuine or perhaps selfish, does do Freddie a service. What happens next teaches Freddie self control and the ability to soberly deal with his life's pain head on, eye to eye, without so much as flinching. What does a sober, functioning, and centered Freddie look like? What does he do with himself? What does he want? That's for you and the Master to find out.
    Matthew S Super Reviewer
  • Jul 22, 2014
    Phoenix and Hoffman are absolutely brilliant in this long yet rewarding film that handles its subject matter with the right balance of artfulness, intelligence, and intensity. Hoffman proves once again that he is the greatest actor of his generation.
    Matthew Samuel M Super Reviewer

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