The Master

The Master


Paul Thomas Anderson sets forth to amaze audiences with THE MASTER.  This beautiful cinematic masterpiece – 70mm in all its’ splendor – takes you into the life of Freddie Quell(Joaquin Phoenix) the Navy seaman who has just returned from the war with way too much baggage– unrequited love, alcoholism, insanity – desperate for a place to  find a sense of normalcy and  where he fits in.  As Freddy drifts from place to place, making alcohol to feed his habit out of almost anything he can find –  he happens upon a yacht where he rests his weary soul one night , only to meet THE MASTER himself, Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and his ways of entrancement and the all-knowing knowledge of the world that every man seeks.

Freddy becomes Lancaster’s new “project” as he attempts to transform his life through the ways of the Cause.  Dodd’s charisma brings him many followers, including his beautiful new wife Peggy (Amy Adams) who believes in her husband’s vision and beliefs so much that she assists with manifesting followers of his beliefs.  Freddie, in all his frailty, fulfills the Masters needs for superiority, domination and their warped relationship seems to give him a sense that he is becoming Freddie’s “Savor”.

As Freddie struggles with his devotion to The Master, and his own demons, he is torn – even tormented  – on whether to become a true follower or leave this new world of Madness.

I personally struggled finding my footing while viewing this film.  Although it was a beautifully crafted Cinematic gem, the story as it unfolded left me searching in my own sense of reality for a way to make some sense of it all.  Maybe that is the sense of what Anderson is portraying – there isn’t any. 

Although Amy Adams plays her role superbly – and it is awesome to see her in a role that is nothing like she has done before- and mark my words – Joaquin Phoenix will surely be up for an academy award for his portrayal of Freddie (HE WAS PHENOMINAL) – I still felt that the story went askew many times, with no real direction in sight.  The Cult aspect is apparent with how it draws many who want “to fit in”, as they try to fulfill that need, but my biggest question when leaving this film was – who was actually more insane – The follower or THE MASTER?

I gave this film a B- – It will definitely be a contender when Oscar season rolls around, Phoenix is definitely deserving for his role in this film – but it left me with more questions, than answers, when it was all said and done.

Kathy Kaiser


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