Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master stars Joaquin Phoenix as a psychologically damaged war veteran who finds himself working for Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a charismatic figure building his own religion. As the alcoholic, self-destructive former soldier becomes more deeply involved with the leader of this cult-like organization, his natural instincts keep him from embracing his new position as strongly as others in the group would hope. The Master screened at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi
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A fascinating, frustrating film. The pace is slow, the message oblique, no catharsis, no easy answers. Just two riveting characters being given riveting performances by two of our best actors. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the Master, a charismatic charlatan quasi-religious leader who desperately needs adulation, and who has lost track of how much of what he says he really believes, and how much he is making up as he goes along. Joaquin Phoenix plays Quell, an angry, possibly crazy young man suffering from what may be PSTD after coming out of WW II. He needs a father figure as desperately as Hoffman"s Lancaster Dodd needs to be looked up to, so they are drawn together. Yet they are also repelled as they both can see the damaged souls under the each iotherssurface, and in the eyes of the other see the reflection of their own wounds. Not a lot happens in the traditional movie sense. It is a story of moments. If you like Pinter, Antonioni, etc. it may be for you.