The Master

Review by Lucia Santiago Dantes

Paul Thomas Anderson’s new movie has several readings, hence seeing it once it may not be enough. If you go analyze Freddie’s story  you will find that The Master is a film about a troubled man called Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) with a self destructive personality. All the film we see this downward spiral he’s into and there’s nothing and no one who can do anything about it. As much as Lancaster Dodd  (Philip Seymour Hoffman) tries, everything is in vain. He is beyond redemption. On the other side if you watch the movie with other eyes, it is also about Lancaster Dodd who is the leader of a philosophical cult called The Cause. Lancaster could be someone who might be seen just a man who is trying to help Freddie but in the other hand, Paul Thomas Anderson based Lancaster Dodd character on Scientology leader L. Ron Hubbard. It is rumored that Paul Thomas Anderson screened the film to Tom Cruise who had some issues to some parts of the film.

The Master’s cult ideology is very similar to the ideology of the Church of Scientology. But what’s interesting is that no cult could spare Freddie’s lack of faith? identity? values? nothing in that cult help him become better, not even “The Master”.

I think it was a great idea to tell the story of the relationship, friendship, in sort of a way codependence in between these 2 men rather than just telling the story of Scientology’s founder L.Ron Hubbard. Giving another perspective like Joaquin’s character gives P.T.A the opportunity to make a statement about the subject, and in a way it is kind of tragic how it all falls down.


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