A film by Paul Thomas Anderson.
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams.
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.
Its title character is transparently inspired by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, but it sidesteps any firm vision of the cult religion itself — or what it grew into. It has great performances I mean by that oscar performances. Top billing goes to an alcoholic adherent of The Master named Freddie Quell — played by Joaquin Phoenix who goes through a melt down. Then you have Lancaster Dodd and played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Two great actors and like I said 2 great performances. Freddie Quell has an unnatural and dangerous taste for booze in all forms. During the film, he will also create concoctions from paint thinner, coconut water, and something from a medicine cabinet — Lysol, perhaps. This big boat belongs to Lancaster Dodd, introduced as a writer and apparently a rich one. (He later tells Quell: “I am a writer, a doctor, a nuclear physicist and a theoretical philosopher, but above all, I am a man, a hopelessly inquisitive man, just like you.”) He is in the process of founding a group, movement, cult, whatever, named the Cause, and the ship is en route to New York via the Panama Canal. He has been joined on board by many followers who will join Dodd and his wife, Peggy (Amy Adams), to celebrate the marriage of their daughter. When Dodd discovers Quell is on board, his response is not to send him ashore. He does not tell him to get off the boat, but he is strangely fascinated by him and his ability to make alcohol. Dodd ask him a series of questions repeatedly over and over again This is described as “processing,” similar to the “auditing” Hubbard described in his book Dianetics. In meetings with East Coast followers, especially Helen Sullivan (Laura Dern), we see that the Cause has already attracted many recruits — and doubters, including John More (Christopher Evan Welch), who stands coldly in a doorway at one meeting and fires hostile questions. Freddie Quell is quick to pick fights with those who oppose the man who has given him affection and guidance. Quell drifts in and out of reality, imagining rooms where the women have suddenly become unclothed. You might say that he should be committed to a mental institution. It is unclear what is the cause of the cult. Scientology has reportedly staged a campaign against “The Master,” the film is vague about the Cause. Anderson is a talented director but there is some stuff missing in the movie. So see this one it is still good with great actors.

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