Julie’s review published on Letterboxd:
I'm not sure at this point that I can actually separate the circumstances under which I saw this film with the film itself.
When I got to the theatre, I wasn't expecting to see The Master. I had bought tickets to see Baraka in 70mm; I knew that there was a sneak peek going on that day, but I had assumed it was happening later, after Baraka. It wasn't until I picked up my tickets and the ticket lady asked if I was excited or bummed out, that I found out that I was about to get to see The Master.
Sitting in the audience, I wondered, how crazy would it be if PTA were there?
IT WAS REALLY FUCKING CRAZY YALL. Paul Thomas Anderson WAS there, he was like six feet from me for a while, I could have reached out and touched him.
It's silly how much that meant. I know that. But to be in the same room as the person who created what I've recently recognized as being my favorite film and the one that means the most to me (I contributed Magnolia to Dirk's list), I was just totally overwhelmed. I was so overwhelmed that I may have cried just a little bit (not proud).
So with that, watching the film...
It is beautiful. And in 70mm... breathtaking, really. The most beautiful lighting, the most beautiful images of the water. I was riveted by the film. And the performances were wonderful; Philip Seymour Hoffman obvs, Joaquin Phoenix and his fascinating face, and especially Amy Adams - she was absolutely perfect, perfect, perfect for that role.
The comparisons to There Will Be Blood are inevitable, and on first watch, it does seem to pale in comparison. But I think maybe only slightly, or maybe it will grow brighter over time. It don't think that there's less going on, it's just quieter, subtler, more layered, more understated, more subdued.
But I'm still stuck thinking about this, both alone and within PTA's larger body of work, trying to organize thoughts and work through themes and make things fit in some way. And I'm also stuck with this thought that it's actually quite apt, this study of the personal worship of the master, and what could easily be my personal worship of PTA. How it's really all bullshit; but despite that, I couldn't even dream of trying to talk to him, because of the feeling that even my presence in the same space is somehow offensive for being on a different plane of existence.
I recognize that this is crazy talk, and so with that, I'm done.