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The Master (2012)

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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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Movies Written and Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson's new film Phantom Thread marks the eighth feature film that the director has also written. Discover other films he has both written and directed.

See more Paul Thomas Anderson movies

Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 76 wins & 179 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joaquin Phoenix ... Freddie Quell
Price Carson ... V.A. Doctor
Mike Howard Mike Howard ... Rorschach Doctor
Sarah Shoshana David Sarah Shoshana David ... V.A. Nurse
Bruce Goodchild ... V.A. Doctor / Interview
Matt Hering Matt Hering ... V.A. Patient
Dan Anderson Dan Anderson ... V.A. Patient
Andrew Koponen ... V.A. Patient
Jeffrey W. Jenkins ... V.A. Patient
Patrick Wilder Patrick Wilder ... V.A. Patient (as Patrick Biggs)
Ryan Curtis Ryan Curtis ... V.A. Patient
Jay Laurence Jay Laurence ... V.A. Patient
Abraxas Adams Abraxas Adams ... V.A. Patient
Tina Bruna Tina Bruna ... Portrait Customer
Kevin Hudnell ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 September 2012 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Master See more »

Filming Locations:

Oakland, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$736,311, 16 September 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$16,377,274

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$28,258,060
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Datasat | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After Freddie's moonshine poisons one of the migrant workers at the cabbage farm and Freddie flees on foot, one of the migrant workers shouts "Boricua!" Boricua is not profanity, it is actually a Spanish word meaning a Puerto Rican living in the United States. Joaquin Phoenix was born and spent the first few years of his life living in Puerto Rico before coming to the states, so calling him a boricua is an apt title. See more »

Goofs

When Freddie kicks and breaks the toilet in jail there is no water in the bowl or spilled onto the floor, or visible on the floor in subsequent shots. See more »

Quotes

Rorschach Doctor: Freddie, I'm going to show you a series of pictures. I want you to tell me the first thing that comes to your mind. There's no right or wrong answers.
Rorschach Doctor: [Holds up a typical ink-blot Rorschach picture] Tell me what you see.
Freddie Quell: Well, that's a pussy, a lady's pussy.
Rorschach Doctor: [holds up another picture] What about this one?
Freddie Quell: Looks like cock going inside of a pussy.
Rorschach Doctor: All right, let's try it again.
Rorschach Doctor: [holds up another picture] Tell me what you see, Freddie.
Freddie Quell: That looks like... That's just like a cock, actually, upside down...
Rorschach Doctor:
See more »

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 Raging Bull (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

On a Slow Boat to China
Written by Frank Loesser
Performed by Philip Seymour Hoffman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The Master in action.
8 August 2012 | by stingilSee all my reviews

I was fortunate enough to see this film much earlier than most. To me it seems like Anderson is really hitting his stride with this one. It was odd to me that upon exiting the theater the thing that I wondered about most of all is what the hell is he going to do next!

The Master is not an easy movie to sit through, and at times you don't even know what the movie wants. But then you realize that the movie doesn't want anything. All it asks is for you to observe. More so than his earlier films, "The Master" and "There Will Be Blood" really venture into the realm of the film as being a purely cinematic presentation of a life. Anderson doesn't pass judgment or any point of view, he merely stretches the canvas which allows his characters to speak for themselves.

Yes, there is a beginning, middle and an end, but is there? Do we really have a sense of catharsis at the end of "There Will Be Blood"? or do we simply understand "man" a little better?

Anderson insisted, as I'm sure he would say the same for this film, that "There Will Be Blood" wasn't a metaphor for anything. It was what it was. No hidden meaning, no sophisticated and often formulaic subtext. It's simply man. As Hoffman's character says in the trailer for "The Master" - "But above all, I am a man".

The movie deals with an interesting idea of the leader vs. the soldier, master vs. slave. It breaks down the anatomy of a relationship so you may interpret it in any way you'd like.

It's beautifully shot on 65/70mm film which is the way I saw it and the way I recommend for you to see it if you get a chance to. Feels almost as if Anderson is giving the finger to the digital revolution by shooting his film on a resolution so high that digital can only dream of getting there in about ten years or so.

The acting and the dialog is superb as you'd expect. Phoenix and Hoffman are on a different level here, especially Phoenix in a role of a life time. There are definitely times in this film that he completely disappears into that role. There is also some great supporting work from Laura Dern and others.

It would be difficult to place this film in his body of work. More than anything it feels like the natural continuation of what he started with "There Will Be Blood". Not to say that he will continue on this path but just that this is definitely a more narrowly focused film than some of his earlier ensemble work.

I found it to be less engaging than some of his other work and yet there was never a dull moment. You're always on your toes, trying to understand what's going on and where the movie is leading you.

It really is simply, just like man, a fascinating piece of work.


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