The Master (2012) Film Review

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Freddy Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) returns from war a broken and deeply alcoholic man. He is violent, finds it hard to hold down a job, and is surprised one day to wake up on a boat with a group called ‘The Cause’. This is a cult-like religion headed by ‘The Master’, Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) a charismatic leader who believes that current issues in life can be solved through processing past lives and experiences. Despite the belief of much of Dodd’s family, including his wife Peggy (Amy Adams) that Quell is not committed to the cause and is instead the source of many problems, The Master embraces him as a subject.

I found this a hard film to watch because Phoenix’s portrayal of Quell is so raw and aggressive, and there is the sense that there is no hope for the man. Director Paul Thomas Anderson tells epic stories laced with tragedy – including Magnolia, Boogie Nights, Punch-Drunk Love and There Will Be Blood. I’m going to have to revisit There Will Be Blood, which bored me to tears. I feel I must have missed something.

Joaquin Phoenix was nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, a BAFTA for Leading Actor and a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, a BAFTA for Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture – Drama.

Amy Adams was nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, a BAFTA for Supporting Actress and a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a  Supporting Role in a Motion Picture – Drama.

Paul Thomas Anderson was nominated for a BAFTA for Original Screenplay

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Filed under Film Reviews, Oscar nominated film

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