The Master - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Master Reviews

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½ June 12, 2016
An interesting look at a cult, with plenty of similarities to Scientology. I never fully connected to Freddie (Phoenix) - the alcoholic drifter - so I found it hard to care what happened to him or his involvement with 'the Cause'. Everyone's good, particularly Seymour Hoffman as the Master, but he's arguably a side character to Freddie's search for... something/nothing, and Adams is underused. Plenty of story threads that go nowhere and plenty of drawn out scenes. Some nice moments and some funny moments, but overall, it's slightly too incoherent and unfulfilling.
June 7, 2016
I must've not GOT it.
May 27, 2016
The Master has Paul Thomas Anderson's characteristic pretentiousness and hardness to being understood. When a movie is supposed to be seen several times to be understood, you would expect it to be more interesting. Don't get me wrong, it has it's moments, and the production design is pretty good, but when people call your movie "challenging" as a compliment, they're either pretty pretentious themselves or they're being too polite to say they didn't understand your senseless movie. A real Oscar bait, but again, that's not a compliment.
½ May 22, 2016
This was the Guardian's 'Pick of the Week' last week. Despite a glowing review, it didn't really float my boat. It has a good score, some interesting cinematography, and powerful acting; but the narrative itself is weak and intentionally ambiguous in places. It purports to be the story of a charismatic cult leader in the 1950s: I didn't find it believable, or even terribly interesting. Hi ho.
½ May 16, 2016
Now The Master is certainly not for everyone but the simplistic charm it posses is hard to look passed, Joaquin Phoenix delivers massively with a rare performance where PAIN meets LIFE and a battle occur, the great late Philip Seymour Hoffman was so good it leaves you wanting for more, his charismatic qualities is off the chart.
May 7, 2016
Paul Thomas Anderson's films aren't for everyone but for fans of his work, The Master truly delivers something special. Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman deliver top notch performances giving completely of themselves to their roles. But without these 2 actors, this film doesn't have much to offer. The story is plain, slow, and somewhat boring (as is often the case with dramas imo). There isn't much entertainment for mainstream audiences. Phoenix and Hoffman create these characters that are quirky and abnormal but serious and deep and it is their relationship to each other which forms the backbone to this film and the reason to watch it. It's also what I disliked the most. I'm not a big fan of Phoenix or Hoffman in general. They are extremely talented but I just don't enjoy watching them. So for me, an entire film revolving around these two actors was a little painful. Combine that with the slow pacing, uninteresting story, and a genre I'm not really into and you might wonder why I'd give the film a 3 star rating. The story, for what it is, is extremely well told but it's the performances of the 2 leads that raise The Master up despite my personal opinions about the actors.
½ April 21, 2016
Engrossing. Worth the watch for Joaquin alone.
½ April 20, 2016
PTA is one of the few directors that can do nebulous well (take notes Shyamalan). There's so much about this that is unclear, and yet I feel incredibly enticed by it. I've felt the same way regarding so many of PTA's other projects that perhaps I've become instinctually comfortable in his methods, and it's not a bad place to be. What makes this movie work so well is the relentless ambition of its characters. There's so much of what's happening that's unclear, and so much of what's understood to be left to interpretation, that the sheer animosity of its characters (much to the contradiction of the movie's cult) is what keeps us tethered the story. In the end I feel the film is attempting to portray the message that we all seek to love what we create, and with that, connect with someone. Get's slightly short of a 4 star due to being a bit too long.
April 17, 2016
One of the top 10 American films ever.
April 2, 2016
The Master (2012) ?? 1/2
Unusually ambitious work (from the director of BOOGIE NIGHTS) about a war veteran returning to his aloof life after WWII and obsesses with a leader of a cause--and can't stop. Intriguing film (shot in 65mm) has a great premise and a pair of truly extraordinary performances, but is somehow never satisfying. Too many scenes are intended to be strange and difficult to understand rather than expand as drama. Never boring, to be sure, but a disappointing misfire. Some bravura moments.
March 26, 2016
Not for those who like obvious and predictable filmmaking.
½ March 25, 2016
Just like with Inherent Vice, I was a bit lost in the plot of the movie but some how I still enjoyed it. The cinematography and sound/music in this movie was really done well and both Joaquin Phoenix and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman were great I thought. Its another one of those movies where I'd need to watch it a few more times to really appreciate it I think.
March 25, 2016
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.
March 23, 2016
Joaquin Phoenix is a master actor, and the film is beautiful, but it's just not entertaining.
½ March 14, 2016
Paul Thomas Anderson's latest, 'The Master', is like a well-crafted, and thoughtful, but ultimately rather dry and long-winded novel. Joaquin Phoenix is terrific as the meandering anti-hero, while Philip Seymour Hoffman as the Elron Hubbard-esque cult leader is pretty much what you'd expect.
March 2, 2016
some of the best acting I've seen
½ February 26, 2016
Honestly... what was that?
½ February 23, 2016
One of the most intelligent and entertaining films I have ever watched and some of the most beautiful cinematography ever filmed. This is why PTA is the best director in Hollywood.
½ February 23, 2016
Anderson is often billed as a thinking man's director, and yet his popularity alludes me completely. One feels as if he's looking at himself, or at his movie, the whole time. Perhaps it's pretentiousness as others have said. Perhaps it's a lack of clear, artistic vision. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I keep feeling as if I'm in the hands of a charlatan every time I watch one of his films. I won't be doing it again.
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