• Post category:Movies
  • Post last modified:November 15, 2021

The Master

themasterShortly after World War II, alcoholic veteran Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) joins a “family” dominated by a colorful philosopher (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who has plans for a wider movement. Inspired by the rise of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, this grand epic portrays an America trying to find its feet after the horrors of the war. The focus lies on two men, one who talks with his fists and one who is very well-articulated; Phoenix and Hoffman are brilliant as the sheep and the shepherd. The director pulls us into a cult mentality in a fascinating way, but a big problem is that the story feels like we’re often moving in circles without offering deeper insights into Hoffman’s character, in particular.

2012-U.S. 137 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Paul Thomas Anderson, JoAnne Sellar, Megan Ellison, Daniel Lupi. Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Music: Jonny Greenwood. Cast: Joaquin Phoenix (Freddie Quell), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Lancaster Dodd), Amy Adams (Peggy Dodd), Laura Dern, Ambyr Childers, Rami Malek… Jesse Plemons, Lena Endre.

Trivia: Jeremy Renner was allegedly first considered for the lead role.

Venice: Silver Lion, Best Actor (Hoffman, Phoenix).

Last word: “If you were going to make a movie about Scientology, you wouldn’t make this movie. For a long time it was a collection of pieces and ideas – and especially the character of Freddie – that didn’t have a home. It’s an age-old thing: the sailor story. The sailor who’s lost on land but at home on the seas. But I didn’t have enough plot or momentum, and this story started to come together a lot more when Lancaster Dodd, the Master, came into it. Then it was clear that there was no going back.” (Anderson, Time Out)



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