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Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

United States 2012 144 mins.

WWII veteran and consummate alcoholic Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), aimless and adrift following the end of the war and his reintroduction into American society, takes up with Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and his wife Peggy (Amy Adams). Dodd, the leader of a shadowy movement called “The Cause”—which bears more than a passing resemblance to Scientology—takes a liking to Freddie, particularly his homemade moonshine, and launches into a series of increasingly odd psychological experiments on the somewhat shell-shocked vet. But while “The Cause” looks like the home Freddie has been looking for, signs point to things going sour for him because he’s simply too strange to fit in. A major critical success with Oscar nominations for all three leads, The Master demonstrates that Anderson’s “cinema has entered its visionary stage—and boy, let’s hope it stays in it.”—Gabe Klinger, Cinemascope.