We at JPC have written 2 very personal and from the heart reviews of The Master……
I am not even sure if I should put it out there but is is my honest opinion of what I thought at my first and only session…maybe even I will change my mind when I see it again in a couple of weeks!
I will say though that I am in love with it and can’t understand why some people have said it is boring…that in my opinion it definitely is NOT!
This is how I understood this amazing film, we may all see it differently of course and I was viewing from the floor looking up at this massive screen so my opinion may change when I see it again in a few weeks!
Firstly Joaquin’s face and posture, I have tried to screw my face up the way he did it but it doesn’t work and it hurts! I know there must be some make up involved but OMG he is simply amazing how he gets himself into his characters especially this one! His face is so contorted that I felt his pain, his body seems in horrendous pain, his physic is incredible, he is so fit, so very thin but so very strong and very very volatile, he is scary like they say “a volcano ready to erupt”, he is so bent over and round shouldered, more so than what we see in the trailers and it hurts to see it but somehow you just want to get inside there and take all that pain away, it is simply heartbreaking! Maybe even more so for us because we do know the background now of this character, we know he starved himself, he never lets up. I truly don’t know how he does it but I do know it is all for us in the end, he loves making his films and we love watching them, his gift to us is precious and whatever comes after that somehow we must try to understand even though we want more and more, I don’t know if he can give us that, how hard is it to be satisfied? From memory of the trailers both his face and posture are more extreme, I don’t think any of the trailers really showed us how extraordinary, when you see it in context and sequence it is far more moving and intense!
The most surprising for me was PSH’s character, when Amy is jerking him off in the bathroom and telling him he can have his affairs but NO ONE must know, I was thinking “is he actually gay but well disguised?”, I wasn’t sure yet but trying to remember back I don’t recall him flirting with any females, he is totally involved with Freddie and trying to fix him, I thought at first it was because of “The Cause” he is heading up but now I realize it is both, he is using that but he is in love with Freddie, when he sings to Freddie “Slow Boat To China” and looking at Freddie’s face I really thought so but yet PTA says no, that it is more of a father/son relationship! Freddie’s realisation of something, the too powerful a love, maybe that scared him or what is it? He can choose to stay so that he might be saved but at what cost, why wasn’t it a happy ending then, it seems Freddie will never be free, what did become of him! Oh my heart breaks!
Maybe Freddie realizes something before that though or has a feeling especially the scene where he rides off on the motorbike…OMG I wanted to scream “STOP JOAQUIE STOP”! He was running from something, maybe himself but I dunno, maybe this film is meant to be individual and we must use our own imagination to decide!
In my opinion this is also the reason Amy’s character thinks Freddie is dangerous and he is but not how I thought, his volatile actions are always to defend Dodd and “The Cause” and seem never in his own defense.
Freddie’s sexual appetite really scared me though, his aggression on the girl made of sand was horrific, I thought he was going to pull her whole womb out haha, then the masturbating on the beach which we have seen in the trailers, I was worried about how I would react when I saw it in context but I actually didn’t squirm, I did with the beach sand girl though, OMG that was invasive, this is where people in the cinema laughed, when you see it what makes it funny is the look on Freddie when he gets up and the look on all the other guy’s faces, they are like “what the fuck just happened” and were either in awe or terrified, the horrendous act somehow turns out funny, I didn’t think I would feel that but I did, again I wanted to save him and show him real love but yet I would run for my fuckin life, it is so confusing!
This film is simply so damn amazing, so intense and so cleverly well acted and directed, it seems to cover all emotions. I can understand how easy it would have been for PSH to want to save and fall in love with Joaq’s character. Joaquin nailed this, he is everything and I can without being biased understand why people say he should be nominated. He is just absolutely BRILLIANT, BRAVE and 100% BELIEVABLE, in this film I didn’t find Joaquin, HE IS FREDDIE! Believe me I tried!
It is true that there is not much of a plot so to speak, PTA has said so himself but what makes it amazing is these characters/actors, the scenery, the way it unfolds, honestly to me it is complete from the beginning till the end, it did not end how I would have liked but OMG the whole thing is so heartbreaking yet funny yet seems like real life and like a real life story which never goes to plan! Very damn cleaver and a film which needs to be watched many times, we will probably find something new every time we view it, I will probably change my mind a million times on what happened!
Totally in love with this film, obviously I am a loyal and totally biased Joaquin fan and love him to death but now I am also a PTA fan and have great admiration for PSH and Amy, they are all simply amazing!
Well I’ve seen it now…..twice.
I really think I sat through the first one hardly breathing. I was on edge the whole time. The film is unforgiving and feels at times like a stage play. I don’t think the landscape plays much part at all….as it does in some films. It’s just the 2 main characters you follow…..everything else, is just making the numbers up.
Some very new and raw observations.
I don’t think I really knew what to expect and it was hard not reading the reviews but all the while hearing how brilliant the film was. The anticipation was incredible. It’s all about Freddie and his journey. It just so happens he bumps into a phenomenal character Lancaster Dodd along the way. The Scientology although questioned by one man in the film, is actually portrayed on the rise. It’s unclear whether Freddie believes in it….he just goes along for the company and free ride. I don’t think he’s taken in. Lancaster knows that but he has other plans for Freddie. Real friendship. It is a love story as PTA keeps saying…..I felt it, I really did.
3 scenes really stick out for me…The early scene when Freddie adjusts the lighting for his male subject and the subsequent fight…..omg vintage Joaquin!
The scene where they first meet and Lancaster calls him a scoundrel…..pure PTA heaven. You are just waiting for that to happen….you are desperate to find out more about Freddie and for him to settle.
The Police arrest and prison cell scene…… That is just electrifying….. The way Freddie loses it and Lancaster just stands there looking on without saying anything. Then their shouting match which ends with Lancaster bellowing at him, ‘who likes you other than me?’
That is a moment…..a real moment of cinema history. The 2 of them acting the fuck out of each other.
I don’t see any hint of gayness. I see a real friendship blossom and then ultimately be destroyed. Heartbreaking. You know Freddie will end up dead in a gutter somewhere….. like a lot of ex servicemen did. It doesn’t feel like a statement on social times though…..it’s as PTA always does, a personal journey, dipping in and out of others…. It’s a hard story this time. Not much joy. I find it sad to think about their frienshiop….and the fact that the friendship is destroyed because Lancaster won’t have him back if he can’t control him completely. In the end they both know that won’t happen. Freddie says maybe ‘in the next life’…. but Lancaster even says that in the next life they’d be enemies. So although they part on friendly terms I see the friendship destroyed. They won’t see each other again.
Around me everyone was still and quiet….even in the evening sellout….. This film is magical like the music in it….. I felt drained and exhausted after the first showing and exactly the same after the second…. It takes something out of you just watching it. When I think on, I wonder what on earth it took from Joaquin actually being the character, day in, day out as we know he does. It’s so physical…..you can almost touch it.
I don’t want to sound pretentious but it’s almost like you’ve been allowed to have a sneaky look into someone’s real life for 2 and half hours…… You now feel like you need to know more….. but of course you can’t.
Freddie and Lancaster feel real. Tangible. Not just really good characters and great acting….I mean like real people. I feel like those 2 existed and then I remember that they don’t. I think that’s what makes me feel sad….sadder than I’ve ever felt after a Joaquin film. I don’t interprete much into the sex scene at the end…. I don’t really see it’s significance other than perhaps Freddie’s crude attempt at processing. Maybe The Cause did seep into him?? He’s in England…. I wonder if he ever made it back to the US….again I’m thinking like he was real!
The 2 of them match each other….Venice was spot on with the dual award.
Like it or not….. Joaquin should be nominated for the big awards, along with PSH.
PTA too, Amy maybe and Jonny Greenwood for the score.