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Based on 43 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 128 )
  • 100
    Peter Travers Rolling Stone

    Written, directed, acted, shot, edited and scored with a bracing vibrancy that restores your faith in film as an art form, The Master is nirvana for movie lovers. Anderson mixes sounds and images into a dark, dazzling music that is all his own. show more

  • 50
    Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

    If it were just a middling effort, The Master would be a lot less frustrating. But the latest from writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson has greatness in it - two extraordinary performances, intuitive and revealing photography and scene setting, and a distinct directorial sensibility that hovers between sobriety and satire. Yet all those virtues are undermined by a narrative that goes all but dead for the last hour. show more

  • 63
    Claudia Puig USA Today

    Anderson has taken pains to re-create the '50s with superb production design and gorgeous cinematography. But he seems less concerned with whether the audience is along for the ride. The story can leave viewers at sea, floundering to give meaning to what they are watching. show more

  • 90
    Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal

    Paul Thomas Anderson's remarkable sixth feature addresses, by extension, the all-too-human process of eager seekers falling under the spell of charismatic authority figures, be they gurus, dictators or cult leaders. Or, in the case of this masterly production, a couple of spellbinding actors. show more

  • 75
    Steven Rea Philadelphia Inquirer

    Phoenix's performance is one of such wild, intense abandon that it is not to be believed, and this, in fact, was my problem as The Master sailed into its momentum-less second hour. show more

  • 80
    Joe Neumaier New York Daily News

    This superb, cerebral film about unchecked belief is a fictionalized and cutting drama hinging on the origins of Scientology. Scratch around a bit, though, and its wider indictments become clear. show more

  • 100
    Todd McCarthy The Hollywood Reporter

    Two things stand out: the extraordinary command of cinematic technique, which alone is nearly enough to keep a connoisseur on the edge of his seat the entire time, and the tremendous portrayals by Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman of two entirely antithetical men show more

  • 90

    What makes The Master such a singular experience, as dense as a mille-feuille, is that it is not Lancaster's story but Freddie's, and told as such, in layers that are sensorially rich but that do not always lead easily from one to another. show more

  • 95
    Ella Taylor NPR

    Without ever saying so, the movie adds up to nothing less than a social psychology of the nervous, spiritually questing geist of post-World War II America. show more

  • 100
    Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune

    The Master is brilliantly, wholly itself for a little more than half of its 137 minutes. Then it chases its own tail a bit and settles for being merely a fascinating metaphoric father-son relationship reaching endgame. It may not all "work," but most of it's remarkable. show more

  • May 31, 2014 guku1
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    The Master is another big piece of **** from the demented sickos in Hollywood. Which idiot gave this crap 4 stars? You are all a bunch of pitiful retards!!!

  • June 30, 2013 solas
    Report This User

    I am surprised that no one else wrote of what was most vivid to me: the visuals in much of the film were like a Norman Rockwell painting. They painted a nostalgia for what never really was quite so,; a physical manifestation of the Cause's philosophy transformation from memory to imagination.

  • March 30, 2013 abmercer
    Report This User

    Watched the whole darn thing. Then wished I hadn\'t wasted my time. I like to see a character grow and change. These characters do not grow - they waste their lives, and make the viewer feel the entire film a waste. If you find that feeling compelling, then watch it.

  • March 11, 2013 ReevesJonesLaw
    Report This User

    Critics don\'t pay to see movies--they get in free. In fact, they get paid to see movies. Maybe that impedes their ability to sync-up with public opinion. No one in his or her right mind should spend good money to see this painfully boring movie about a disgusting psycho/sexual creep, a charasmatic criminal posing as a \"religious prophet,\" and the weak-minded people who follow him like so many blurry-eyed sheep. It is Tarantino without the absurd humor, nifty story lines or scintillating characters. If you are determined to see this awful mistake, be sure to take a large bottle of Excedrin.

  • March 05, 2013 Steve
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    Superb acting! JP was at his very best. It also helps to know what the movie is really about.

  • February 19, 2013 lp00000000138402
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    Absolutely lousy! Shockingly so!

  • February 18, 2013 xy00000000139337
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    Although many colorful verbs, adjectives, nouns, and pronouns, might be used to whimsically describe this supposed work of art----only one comes to my mind: Crap!!!!/ OK perhaps (in all fairness and candor a few more words): Pure, unadultarated and unholy Crap.

  • January 12, 2013 orindayngs
    Report This User

    Two creeps and a cult. Disgusting! You know it\'s a bad movie when retired Berkeley couples start walking out.

  • December 17, 2012 nj00000000133651
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    Even better on second viewing. Relax and just go along for the ride. You won\'t be sorry.

  • December 14, 2012 twohotmen4action
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    This is from someone who loves indie films, art films and unusal films This film is HORRIBLE! DULL!! BORING!!! The director made this for artsy-fartsy film critics. It is pathetically bad. J Phoenix gives a performance that seems as if he is playing Marlon Brando.. but is many levels below the brilliant original. Hoffman and Adams are wonderful! AVOID THIS MOVIE. It is not made for the general audience.


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