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A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future - until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 75 wins & 177 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
V.A. Doctor
...
Rorschach Doctor
Sarah Shoshana David ...
V.A. Nurse
...
V.A. Doctor / Interview
Matt Hering ...
V.A. Patient
Dan Anderson ...
V.A. Patient
...
V.A. Patient
...
V.A. Patient
Patrick Wilder ...
V.A. Patient (as Patrick Biggs)
Ryan Curtis ...
V.A. Patient
Jay Laurence ...
V.A. Patient
Abraxas Adams ...
V.A. Patient
Tina Bruna ...
Portrait Customer
...
Portrait Customer
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Storyline

Returning from Navy service in World War II, Freddie Quell drifts through a series of breakdowns. Finally he stumbles upon a cult which engages in exercises to clear emotions and he becomes deeply involved with them. Written by Alan Young, edit Hal Issen

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

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Release Date:

21 September 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Master  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$736,311 (USA) (14 September 2012)

Gross:

$16,377,274 (USA) (15 March 2013)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The decision to shoot in 65mm came from a desire to replicate the look of photos taken by vintage Pressman cameras, which use large-format 4x5-inch film. This also led to the use of the narrower 1.85:1 aspect ratio (65mm has a native aspect ratio of 2.2:1). Anderson initially suggested shooting the film in VistaVision, and test footage was shot in that format, but the shallow-focus effect was not pronounced enough. See more »

Goofs

When Freddie is first seen visiting Doris' house, aluminum stick-on numbers are visible in the establishing shot, giving a street number. These numbers didn't' come onto the market until the 1960s. See more »

Quotes

Peggy Dodd: And this is where we are at. At the lowest level. To have to explain ourselves, for what? For what we do, we have to grovel? The only way to defend ourselves is to attack. If we don't do that we will lose every battle that we are engaged in. We will *never* dominate our environment the way we should unless we attack! And the city, city's just noise. I know the city. I know its rotten secrets, its filthy lies and secrets. They... invited us here and welcomed us. Only to throw us down. And kick ...
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Crazy Credits

The DVD special-features menu has a reversed image of Joaquin Phoenix's face. You can tell by the scar above his lip. See more »

Connections

References Barry Lyndon (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Baton Sparks
from "48 Responses To Polymorphia"
Written by Jonny Greenwood
Performed by The Aukso Chamber Orchestra
Courtesy of Unreliable Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Master of his fate
27 September 2012 | by (Penang, Malaysia / Chicago, USA) – See all my reviews

Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" is a puzzling, often bewildering film. Very few films have left me shaken and stirred and still leave me wondering, "What was that all about?" I can't say that I hated the ride. It is, quite simply, a remarkable film from one of America's best filmmakers today. This film is not for everyone, however.

The film's center plot; the one about self-described nuclear physicist, philosopher and professor Lancaster Dodd and his "organization" "The Cause" - as seen from the point of view from a shell-shocked psychotic drunk Freddie Quell. During the course of the film Lancaster and Freddie bond somewhat with Lancaster progressing his latest works.

The main performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman are superb, and should warrant both of them Academy Award Nominations for Best Actor. Both of them. Phoenix is literally on fire here, his quirky mannerisms, twitching lips, unforgiving, unsettling eyes and ferocious anger and voice had me on the edge every time I see him on screen. Hoffman also is more subtle, though we see growing anger and rage whenever he feels that his work is being threatened. He can be classy, charismatic, and when threatened, loses all of that and becomes about as desperate as Freddie. Brilliant work by both actors. Watch the scene where Lancaster gets through to Freddie, or the harrowing scene where both of them are in jail cells. Special mention to Amy Adams who, while not really standing out, gives off a peculiar and somewhat sinister aura whenever she's on the screen.

Anderson's solid screenplay and his concentrated direction bring the goods. There seems to be a pattern about Anderson's last three films including this one. Both "Punch-Drunk Love" and "There Will Be Blood" featured lead characters who are extremely lonely and prone to snap to anger. "The Master" is somewhat a bit of both, where the lonely man can be both psychotic without reason and yet there are scenes which show he is, after all, a man. Some very well written lines ("If you can find peace without looking up to a master, any master...") meshed with some really great cinematography by Mihai Malaimare Jr. that brings nice color tones to the 1950 production design. Complementing all of this is Jonny Greenwood's eerie, dissonant score which makes the movie all the more odd, unsettling, and yet compelling to watch.

Eventually, both men in the movie are the masters of their own fate, and Anderson his own. It may move some and it may turn away others, but this is a fascinating watch nonetheless. "The Master" is one of 2012's very best films.

Overall: 91%


93 of 151 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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'Nothing happens', 'no plot development' etc. LeSamourai86
Performance of the Decade so far? PolythenePaul
Boring ...opaque, vague, dull and great for mental masturbation janandersonco
This film IS NOT about Scientology! tph890
'Slow Boat to China' and homosexual overtones... strikefire83
2nd veiwing better? snoochieboocher1978
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