Vince The Cinephile’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Master is a story that mirrors both the American dream and tragedy. In my second viewing, I stopped thinking of trying to figure out everything that Anderson wants to convey. I just let myself be drawn in and moved by the currents of Anderson’s storytelling. There’s some heavy tension underlying throughout the film, yet Anderson puts spaces in his film to breathe in and allow a sense of serenity to precipitate in his broken characters. Thus, the energies of the three main characters create a suffocating, almost engulfing power that exposes you to the depth of their sufferings.
Joaquin Phoenix is definitely one of the best actors of his generation. His interpretation of Freddie Quell is beyond complex, ferocious, and broken. There’s a lot of things going on in Freddie’s mind, and the unspeakable confusion and suffering are tethered in Phoenix’s unpredictably masterful embodiment. Countering Phoenix’s fiery, volcanic energy is Philip Seymour Hoffman’s calm, but bouldering performance. There is ambiguity and doubt within Lancaster Dodd’s state of mind, yet Hoffman vividly evoke those mysterious emotions as wide and deep as the oceans. While Amy Adams’s intricate performance as Peggy proved that she’s so much more than a supportive wife. Peggy holds so much power and control to everyone that I think she might be the ‘real’ master.
Overall, The Master is a testament to Paul Thomas Anderson’s exceptional gift for complex storytelling that doesn’t feed the audiences easily. His narratives always hallucinate, infuriate, and titillate the minds of people all at the same. And for that, thank you.