What can I say about Paul Thomas Anderson which hasn’t already been repeated by countless reviewers and filmmakers? I can’t.
Ain’t no blah blah blah jibjab nonsense love letter in this review.
“The Master,” a 2012, film, follows sex-obsessed alcoholic World War II veteran Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) as he struggles with adjusting to post war society. Due to several violent PTSD outbursts, he is unable to maintain employment. After losing another job, Freddie drunkenly stows away on a yacht.
There he meets Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the leader of a movement known as “The Cause.”
Upon being discovered and questioned, Dodd invites Freddie to his daughter’s wedding. There he meets Dodd’s family along with several members of the “cult.” After Freddie drinks a homemade alcohol potion, Dodd asks him to undergo an exercise known as Processing. Challenged by a handful of disturbing psychological questions, Freddie reveals to Dodd his painful past.
Determined to conquer his traumas and master his memories, Freddie decides to travel with Dodd and his family across the country to spread the teachings of “The Cause.”
Dodd’s wife, Peggy (Amy Adams), disapproves of Freddie’s aggressive and inappropriate behavior. Fearing Freddie’s relationship may negatively alter her husband’s demeanor, she tells Dodd, “He’s dangerous and he will be our undoing if we continue to have him here.”
Dodd tells his family, “If we are not helping him, then it is we who have failed him.”
Peggy responds, “Perhaps he’s past help. Or insane.”
Freddie and Dodd are complete opposites, but want what the other has. Freddie wants the family, intelligence and dominance possessed by Dodd. Dodd wants Freddie’s freedom.
Unfortunately their relationship is doomed to fail from the start.
While both desire to be a part of the other’s life, the pair eventually realize they must separate.
Love it or hate it, “The Master” will undoubtedly leave people hopelessly inquisitive.