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116 Reviews
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic cinema, unforgettable acting
The mid-range star rating for this film is, for me, a glowing endorsement that it's worth a look. In an age where the inoffensive, forgettable or mediocre will guarantee positive reviews, something that divides opinion has got to be worth a look.

For me, The Master is an incredible film - far, far better all round than the director's previous work, There Will...
Published 22 months ago by JD

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MAN IS NOT AN ANIMAL
Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) is a WWII vet with anger management issues. He is obsessed with sex (more than the rest of us) and loves his drink. After numerous altercations, Freddie ends up as a stowaway on the yacht of The Master, Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Dodd is also a hot head who likes his drink and previously had an altercation with Freddie, one...
Published 22 months ago by THE MOVIE GUY


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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good film that could have been a great one, 5 Feb. 2014
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Master [DVD] (DVD)
By the end of this worthily if wearyingly impressive film, I was beginning to get restless.
The great Philip Seymour Hoffman (now so tragically gone from us) adds to his gallery of mesmerising performances as the titular Master, with the always worth watching Amy Adams as his pregnant wife, who more and more appears to be the `power behind the throne`. Both are terrific.
Joaquin Phoenix here looks like a half-starved cross between Montgomery Clift after his accident and a shorter, more mannered Daniel Day Lewis (coincidentally the star of maverick director Paul Thomas Anderson`s previous film, the far more coherent There Will Be Blood). Don`t get me wrong, Phoenix is a man champing at the bit - he`s Brando, Clift & Dean here, you name it - but his loping, twitchy take on Freddie Quell, ex-soldier on the loose, gets wearing, and I`m not sure it isn`t merely a fascinating character in search of a better film, better script, and a better reason for existing.
The wonderful Laura Dern is wasted in a too-small role of a follower of the cult set up by the Master (which, despite denials, looks like a disguised Scientology) and too many of the characters are either left stranded by the director or given plenty to do but with too little reason for their actions.
It`s one of those `loaded` films where I can`t help thinking that one vital ingredient is missing: real life. This is a story that needed to be told, but it could have been either much more visceral and less like an American art-film wanting to please, or a more open-ended, Altman-like ramble, which might have given Phoenix, Hoffman, Adams et al more room to let rip.
That said, Hoffman is superb, Adams is near-perfect, and Phoenix is, despite my above concerns, brilliant. I just can`t help wondering: to what purpose? In the end, the Cause (the enigmatically symbolic name of the cult) seems to be a touch too cosy for anyone`s comfort. Perhaps that`s the point. And I do `get` that Freddie is a war-scarred outsider searching for - for something, a place to belong.
The early scenes - if I hadn`t known a little of the back-story before I saw it - could have been very confusing, particularly as we are concentrating so much on the startling figure of Freddie and his often outrageous behaviour that it`s easy to miss what is being set up.
This is a film that will get people talking, but I reckon half that talk will be about whether the film is as good as it wants to be, rather than the issues it hopes to raise.
An ambitious, intelligent, fascinating, deeply flawed film.
Seven out of ten.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating, 24 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: The Master [DVD] (DVD)
Not sure whether it went too far, or not far enough. Either way, I was a little disappointed in a work from a director who is normally a favourite. Having said that, I do have to admit that it has stayed with me, which is more than 90% of movies do. Worth a watch for that alone.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 13 July 2014
This review is from: The Master (Blu-ray)
Strange, uneven film redeemed by a astonishing central performance from Philip Seymour Hoffman
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2.0 out of 5 stars Confusing and Enigmatic, 12 May 2014
This review is from: The Master (DVD)
My husband and I barely understood this film. We watched it to the end, but it was a wasted evening. The only saving grace was the acting of Philip Seymour Hoffman. It had no beginning or end and precious little in between.
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2.0 out of 5 stars strange religions, 11 May 2014
This review is from: The Master [DVD] (DVD)
Magnificently shot, expertly acted, the post-war period lovingly recreated -- yet entirely uninvolving. The two main characters -- the Master and his unlikely new acolyte -- remain undeveloped and unconvincing. There is no plot to speak of. Starts intriguingly but then becomes all too tedious. I feel disappointed as I expected much more.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Master, 6 May 2014
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This review is from: The Master [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent, offbeat movie with superb performances all round. A real testament to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman's talent.Would definitely recommend.
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3.0 out of 5 stars PSH does PSH, 16 April 2014
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This review is from: The Master [DVD] (DVD)
Following Hoffman's demise, I fancied catching up on this rather elusive work. It's a bit difficult to define what didn't work, whether it was the original book or the screenplay or the direction, but somehow neither principal men's characters played by Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix could evince much empathy from me. The story itself was bitty and the message implied in the title was only fleetingly conveyed. On the plus side, a great cast.
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2.0 out of 5 stars weird, 24 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: The Master [DVD] (DVD)
Didn't really enjoy this movie although I watched it all the way through. Odd story line and a bit too disjointed for my taste.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent dvd, 19 Mar. 2014
By 
Mr. Christopher J. Wright (HAMPSHIRE ENGLAND) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Master [DVD] (DVD)
deep, reflective, dark. First rate production. The actors are superb and it is with regret that this is one of the last films with philip in
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected, 6 Jan. 2014
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ziggy_fan (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Master [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
As a big fan of P T Anderson's (Magnolia being one of my all time favourite movies) and PSH, I was expecting something quite different from what this film actually offers. With the subject matter I also expected something a bit conspiracy-ish, but in reality the movie is a long, well acted, often engaging, but ultimately pointless study of the minutiae of the relationship between flawed master and even more flawed pupil. The problem for me was that I actually didn't mind the Master as flawed teacher (however much rubbish he spouted) but utterly disliked the person (Freddie) we were supposed to empathise with. The surprise was how important Peggy is in the whole thing. The smaller supporting casts aren't particularly interesting, which makes a film of this detail and length a slow burner, which is not very satisfying and ultimately didn't deliver any sort of denouement which it felt it was crying out for. I can't criticise it a huge amount though because the screenplay, and the trio of Master, Freddie and Peggy are so well inhabited by Hoffman, Phoenix and Adams and they are the reason I kept on watching and was kept engaged to the end, even if disappointed with the story itself.
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The Master [Blu-ray]
The Master [Blu-ray] by Paul Thomas Anderson (Blu-ray - 2013)
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