With each film that Paul Thomas Anderson makes, he continues to establish himself as a creative force to be reckoned with – irrepressible, unique and transcendent of the conventions that dominate the remainder of the moviemaking landscape. And while he certainly didn’t pay deliberate tribute to himself with his latest effort, he shares more than a little in common with his protagonist Freddie Quell in The Master, the story of a man whose inability to suppress his own essential needs comes at the cost of a relationship he just as desperately wants to fulfill.
As the two men whose natures are in direct opposition but who find themselves inextricably drawn to one another, Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman deliver master-class performances, which by itself makes the movie worth watching. But Anderson’s unhurried but economical character study is constantly surprising – an incredibly rare quality in almost any film these days – while still managing to reinforce and explore more deeply the id-versus-superego dynamic that defines the central relationship in this affecting, remarkable film.
America’s founding fathers would have favorited Chelsea Handler’s salute to our freedom in a video of her ‘liberated’ water ski ride.
Oh, say, does the star-studded barbeque yet rave…