The Master

One of the best aspects of the fall movie season is that we often get a group of great actors, who have never acted together on screen before, gathered together for the first time in one movie. “The Master” brings together Academy Award Winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Academy Award Nominee Amy Adams and the return of Academy Award Nominee Joaquin Phoenix.

The year is 1950 and Freddie Quell (Phoenix) is a World War II veteran trying to find his place in the world. He drifts around from being a department store photographer to a beach bum. He is a lost soul. One night he stows away on a boat where author Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman) is having a party. Dodd is the leader of a new faith based organization known as The Cause, where he is referred to as “The Master”. Freddie is immediately drawn to Dodd and the movie focuses on the twos relationship and what effect they have on each other’s lives.

Joaquin announced his retirement from acting a few years ago. After that he was best known for his odd appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. He makes his triumphant return to acting in “The Master”. He is sure to grab plenty of acting nominations when award season comes around because he takes his craft to a whole other level in this movie.


When Phillip Seymour Hoffman, joins Joaquin Phoenix on screen things just get better. The two put on a clinic when it comes to acting in this picture. Their first scene together is nothing short of magnificent. The two play so well off one another and when you throw Amy Adams into the mix, who plays Dodd’s wife, Peggy, thing get even better. “The Master” is one of the most terrifically acted movies to come along in a long while.

Credit must be given to Paul Thomas Anderson. “The Master” is arguably his best work of art to date. The movie does get a little long in the tooth, but if you get moved by great acting, you will not walk out of this movie disappointed.

It has been well documented that the inspiration for “The Master” is based somewhat on science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard and his creation of Scientology. It’s hard to deny the similarities to the followers of Scientology when you see Freddie out of the streets of California asking people on the street if they would like a “free processing”. You almost get a sense, through Hoffman’s performance that deep down Dodd knows he is making this up as it comes to him. He gets very testy when someone points out indiscrepancies in his teachings. Yet, “The Master” is not really a commentary on Scientology. The focus of this story is primarily on Freddie and the journey he takes trying to make sense of a world he no longer understands or, perhaps, the world does not understand him.

“The Master” is the kind of movie people will either like or dislike. Its unlikely there will be many people coming out of the movie saying it was “just okay”. However you may feel about this movie one fact remains is that Joaquin Phoenix is back and hopefully this time for good. “The Master” is rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity and language.