Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Jesse Plemons
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Run Time: 137 mins
Opens September 21st
By Lisa Minzey
Hey Phoenix Film fans, this week among the many films we are checking out is the highly anticipate film, The Master. There is a lot of early Oscar Buzz surrounding this film and was nominated at the 2012 Venice Film Festival for the Golden Lion Award.
The end of World War II for some veterans was a difficult transition back into normal life. Back stateside, when they had to go through their decommissioning and mental health evaluations, they would undergo questioning to see if they were fit for society. Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) served in the Navy during the War and developed a hearty drinking problem. A textbook case of alcoholism, Freddie would seek out anything of poisonous substance to ingest, just to numb his mind. As he entered back into civilian life, Freddie could not hold a job, floating from job to job until his “special juice” ended up poisoning one of his co-workers and almost kills them. He ran from an angry mob of coworkers and found himself on the docks inSan Francisco, hopping on to a private ship that was holding a wedding celebration, headed forNew York.
Aboard the ship, Freddie finds himself treated with compassion and care by the family of renowned author/speaker Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). His daughter is the one getting married and during the confrontation of Stowaway Freddie, finds himself as a guest of Lancaster and his followers. Dodd is known to those who follow his work as the “Master” as he has created or “discovered’ a way of life that is so controversial to the times and questions the authority of traditional religion. Nowadays, we would consider his teaching “New Age” but in the 1950’s, he was considered a charlatan to most authorities in government and religious organizations. As Freddy begins Lancaster’s “processing”, the multilayers of his complex personality peel like an onion, revealing the root(s) of his pain.Lancaster is fascinated by Freddie, and vice-versa, in turn; Freddie follows Dodd and his family around the country to teach his findings to the world. As with any type of spiritual or personal growth, Freddie’s exodus is one that will not only change him but those around him, some for the worse, some for the better.
The premise of The Master is fascinating; the performances are superb, and expect to put this on your Oscar’s watch list as I expect Hoffman, Phoenix & director Paul Thomas Anderson to be nominated for some serious hardware next spring. The Master opens nationwide Friday September 21, 2012.