The Master stars Joaquin Phoenix in a role that earned him an Oscar nomination for best actor. His character, Freddie, is an alcoholic Navy veteran, out of control and lost. He stumbles upon a kind of evangelical figure in “The Master” – aka Lancaster Dodd, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who also got a nom for his role. The Master is charismatic, certainly unorthodox in his methods, and probably crazy. There are many parallels and comparisons to L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology.
Amy Adams plays Dodd’s devoted wife. Paul Thomas Anderson directs.
While interesting, the characters are all unlikeable, so it’s hard to root for anyone. It’s kind of a no-win situation, between the manipulative and the stupid. I can see the art in the filmmaking, but the story was unsettling, dark.