Catholic News Service
“The Master” is a literate but sterile drama, a wearing cinematic experience further burdened by a degraded view of human sexuality and excessive explicitness in its portrayal.
Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson’s period piece, mostly set in the aftermath of World War II, follows the fortunes of beleaguered, alcoholic Navy veteran Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix). After being demobilized, Freddie becomes a drifter. Unable to find a place for himself in society, either professionally or personally, he fails at one job after another and dabbles in casual romantic relationships.