Online Film Critics Society

The World's Oldest Organization of Online Film Critics

Reviews: The Master (2012)

Reviews for this film from our members:

  • Marco Albanese @ Stanze di Cinema [Italian]
    • Excerpt: Il sesto film di Paul Thomas Anderson è un affascinante studio di caratteri ed una storia di amicizia profonda e controversa, sullo sfondo dell’America del secondo dopoguerra.
  • Marina Antunes @ Quiet Earth
  • Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan
    • Excerpt: The Master is at its core quite hollow despite good performances. If it were not for them, it would be derided as so much pseudo-artistic pretentiousness.
  • Alan Bacchus @ Daily Film Dose
    • Excerpt: While There Will Be Blood strung together a collection of bold memorable set pieces and became an instant pop culture anchor, The Master is humble and understated, a slow burn which gets under your skin and lingers long after the lights go up.
  • Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire
    • Excerpt: A rich film — intoxicating and lived-in, a bold and ambitious cinematic symphony.
  • Luke Bonanno @ DVDizzy.com
    • Excerpt: While some will find the content off-putting or difficult, an open-minded viewer is sure to appreciate the originality and substance that pervade the film, manifesting in magnificent performances, a story that resonates, and unparalleled technical splendor.
  • Tim Brayton @ Antagony & Ecstasy
    • Excerpt: A glorious work of technique… but not enough to answer the question that, crucially, goes not only unanswered but unasked: why are we bothering to watch it?
  • Joshua Brunsting @ CriterionCast
    • Excerpt: Featuring two career-defining performances from two of today’s very best actors, the film is arguably the best American feature film since Paul Thomas Anderson last hit the big screen.
  • [New – 3/14] | Enrique Buchichio @ Cartelera.com.uy [Spanish]
    • Excerpt: Nadie filma estos días como lo hace P.T. Anderson; nadie logra crear secuencias tan contundentes, perturbadoras y fascinantes. Claro que la película es tan seductora e inteligente como impulsiva y errática. Y, sobre todo, brillantemente actuada.
  • Kevin Carr @ 7M Pictures
    • Excerpt: Calm down, people. “The Master” is a perfectly fine movie… But, no pun intended, this isn’t a religious experience.
  • Stephen Carty @ Flix Capacitor
  • Stephen Carty @ Flix Capacitor
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: The Master is the best American film of 2012 and the Blu-ray combo pack serves it well.
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: The filmmaking here is exquisite, not only in its ability to engross us in the manipulations of one man administered on the volatility of another, but in its ability to completely immerse us in another time…
  • Philip Concannon @ Phil on Film
  • Edwin Davies @ A Mighty Fine Blog
    • Excerpt: As Freddie, Joaquin Phoenix is a wiry, fiery figure who always seems a second away from violence. It’s a deeply unsettling performance perfectly complemented by Johnny Greenwood’s jarring and frequently atonal score, which does much to establish the particular tone that Anderson strives for: an air of constant uncertainty and menace.
  • Tony Dayoub @ Cinema Viewfinder
  • Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: The film is a character study elevated to devastating heights by two, towering central performances from Joaquin Phoenix as the student and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the eponymous master.
  • Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk
    • Excerpt: It takes a certain level of genius to take a perfectly interesting and timely subject and make it significantly uninteresting, unengaging and aimless. But in The Master, director Paul Thomas Anderson does just that.
  • Dustin Freeley @ Movies About Gladiators.com
  • Kimberly Gadette @ doddle
    • Excerpt: As Hoffman’s Master strives to impress w/eloquent language, fine suits and psychic parlor tricks, serving as cerebral misdirection, so too does Anderson, similarly pulling elaborate wool over our eyes. Quoting Ms. Stein: There is no there there.
  • Panagiotis Gkaris @ Movies Ltd
    • Excerpt: It takes unprecedented knowledge of the art medium, meticulous attention to cinematic perfection, bold, inflicting vision and lots of humility. This is Paul Thomas Anderson in a nutshell.
  • Susan Granger @ www.susangranger.com
    • Excerpt: Audacious, insidious and serious, detailing how spiritual and religious systems can psychologically seduce and subversively manipulate vulnerable minds.
  • Ali Gray @ TheShiznit.co.uk
    • Excerpt: Woozy, boozy, sleazy and dreamy, it’s impossible not to be seduced by The Master – and, indeed, the master.
  • Richard Gray @ The Reel Bits
    • Excerpt: Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest is a thinly veiled, and thinly plotted, examination of the forces around Scientology. The messy master makes it up as he goes along.
  • Roderick Heath @ Ferdy on Films
    • Excerpt: Paul Thomas Anderson seems well aware and engaged with the thematic trove of modern American writing and even contributes to it in his own way, but with a natural filmmaker’s understanding of the medium, ready and willing to translate his concerns into a vital play of images.
  • Oktay Ege Kozak @ Oregon Herald
  • Benjamin Kramer @ The Voracious Filmgoer
  • Kevin Laforest @ Montreal Film Journal
  • Josh Larsen @ LarsenOnFilm.com
    • Excerpt: Whatever you’re told this movie is about, remember it’s about Phoenix’s face first.
  • Mathieu Li-Goyette @ Panorama-cinéma [French]
  • Matthew Lucas @ From the Front Row
    • Excerpt: Revisiting The Master on Blu-ray is a somewhat different experience. Anderson’s gorgeous, 70 mm images (courtesy of cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr., who should have been nominated for an Oscar) take on a more intimate hue when viewed on a smaller screen.
  • Carson Lund @ Are the Hills Going to March Off?
    • Excerpt: At any given moment The Master feels like it’s going to explode with tension, that the primal churnings of man will wreak havoc on the unruffled surface of the film. This has been a recurring sensation in Anderson’s filmography, but it’s never been quite this palpable.
  • Dan Lybarger @ KCActive.com
    • Excerpt: Thankfully, Anderson has chosen to do something more substantial than to take cheap potshots at Hubbard in 70mm.
  • Piers Marchant @ Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
    • Excerpt: P.T. Anderson’s latest magnum opus is yet another blow to cozy Hollywood story arcs.
  • Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat
    • Excerpt: Genuine walk-the-high-wire-without-a-net, swing-for-the-fences filmmaking.
  • Matthew McKernan @ FilmWhinge
    • Excerpt: The film is not an easy watch and will probably have as many detractors as it will have supporters. There are too few challenging films that are as widely available and even fewer that are made with such confidence and artistry.
  • Jason McKiernan @ Next Projection
    • Excerpt: Nothing short of a lengthy discussion with Paul Thomas Anderson could fully explicate the point and purpose of The Master…and honestly, even he might not be able to offer a concise thesis.
  • Ryan McNeil @ The Matinee
    • Excerpt: Paul Thomas Anderson’s tale of faith, rage, and broken spirits is his most audacious story yet…and like many highly audacious stories, it is very complexed.
  • Simon Miraudo @ Quickflix
  • Darren Mooney @ the m0vie blog
    • Excerpt: A master-piece?
  • Jason Pirodsky @ Expats.cz
    • Excerpt: A complex, incredibly dense piece of cinema in which almost every scene – let alone the film as a whole – is left open to interpretation.
  • Tiago Ramos @ Split Screen [Portuguese]
  • Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk
    • Excerpt: The Master is the kind of movie that only gets made every once in a while, it doesn’t fit the cookie-cutter molds that studios prefer. It takes a persistence of vision to keep it on track, and Herculean mental acuity to stay clear-sighted all the way to the end.
  • Marcio Sallem @ Cinema com Crítica [Portuguese]
  • Tom Santilli @ Examiner.com
    • Excerpt: The Master is one of those pretentious films that begs for a movie-goer to disregard critical acclaim.
  • Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies
    • Excerpt: The Master’s dogma is humanistic, tragic and romantic: the faith that a depraved freedom is preferable to a sick salvation.
  • Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com
    • Excerpt: For all of the over-exaggerated attention – read publicity ploy — given to “The Master’s” loose narrative ties regarding the Church of Scientology, Paul Thomas Anderson’s cinematic dog lacks any amount of storyline, arc, or likeable characters.
  • Frank Swietek @ One Guy’s Opinion
Updated: July 18, 2015 — 1:13 pm

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