It probably means that I’ve been in Hollywood too long, that I think I was more offended by this movie’s profound and sustained boringness as opposed to its pervasive and gratuitous obscenity. Don’t get me wrong. The obscenity is of the most sexist and gratuitous kind, which itself makes the movie, uh, eschewable. But The Master is so colossally boring that I found myself brooding more during the various exploitive scenes on how bad a director you have to be to wallow in all kinds of nudity and crass sexuality but still produce a movie completely devoid of a pulse. It’s possibly the dullest movie I have ever seen. And I spent six weeks in film school watching Soviet era propaganda films, so that is saying a lot.
I need to qualify this review by saying that my husband and I walked out at the hour and a half point. We were barely thirty minutes into the film when in a moment of mutual groaning – it was after Phoenix masturbated into the ocean, but before he fondled the naked nipple of the soon discarded department store girl – my husband leaned over and said, “Any time you want to go…” Once it was on the table, I thought about leaving probably every five minutes until the scene in which Amy Adams was reading the uber-crass pornography to Joaquin Phoenix – complete with the c-word – finally drove me up and out. So, what follows here is technically a review of the first hour and a half of The Master. Maybe the movie got stunningly brilliant in the last hour. I’d still feel like I got vomited on – yet again! – by Paul Thomas Anderson and scammed by this over-hyped bit of trash.
This movie is not really worth a long review, and frankly, I don’t want to force myself back over the hour and a half of tortured ennui and violation just to basically say, “BLECHHHHHHKKKKKKK!”
Maybe Anderson is some kind of kinky pervert who likes to have nude actresses in his power.
Probably the best thing to be said about The Master is that, for a Paul Thomas Anderson film, it doesn’t unfairly vilify Christianity. So, you know, that’s good....
Please note that this review was published after I published mine, in which a character responds by saying "Blecch!" and walks out of the movie.
So my "sketch" was not based on this review.
Just, you know... for the record.
Jeffrey, I've continued to think about The Master
, since seeing it on Saturday. I have come to be still more impressed by it, though I must also say that I do still think the most overt and graphic
moments of sexuality either could have been left out altogether, or presented in a way that would have been less of a "near occasion of sin" for many people, to use Catholic parlance. I'm not convinced that Anderson is too concerned about near occasions of sin in his art though. If he were
mindful of such things, I think that, quite contrary to what many serious moviegoers would think, that mindfulness would make him an even better artist
. I think Flannery O'Connor would agree. (I do plan on seeing The Master
again and look forward to it.)
Anyway, after reading your first post on the film, I definitely have the most sympathies with "Mr. Long-winded." I can understand some
of "Mrs. Yuk"'s moral outrage, but I think that she would say largely the same things about Flannery's novels and short stories (and I believe Flannery to be one of the greatest writers of the last century). Embarrassingly, back in 2000, my thinking was probably a bit close to "Fangirl"'s, hehe, but I never went quite as far in my love of P.T.A.'s work as she does!
About Barbara Nicolosi's blog post, I admit that I'm surprised by the level of rant and vitriol in it, especially considering the fact that she loved Little Children
, which contains even more graphic, in-your-face sexuality (that I also think could have been presented more carefully, in less of a "near occasion of sin" way) than The Master
Edited by Christopher Lake, 24 September 2012 - 05:39 PM.