'The Master' Critic Reviews

75%
MovieWeb:   6 reviews
86%
Rotten Tomatoes:   222 reviews
  • Julian Roman MovieWeb (Top Critic)
    60
    Anderson's filmmaking skills are tremendous, but he suffers here under his own conceit.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    92
    The movie may not even be fully comprehensible on first viewing, the bigger patterns in the narrative and the rhythms of the filmmaking revealing themselves more fully and clearly only with a return visit.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • A.O. Scott New York Times (Top Critic)
    100
    This is a movie that defies understanding even as it compels reverent, astonished belief.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Peter Bradshaw Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    100
    It is a movie that may alienate and exasperate some, but its audacity, its formal daring and Joaquin Phoenix's performance, make it simply unmissable.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Xan Brooks Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    100
    Offers catnip for the senses and succour for the soul, riffing lightly off the life of Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard to conjure up a film that is both expansive and intimate, confident and self-questioning.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Claudia Puig USA Today (Top Critic)
    63
    Aiming for epic, it's undeniably thought-provoking, but too ambiguous to fully satisfy.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Ann Hornaday Washington Post (Top Critic)
    63
    "The Master" turns out to be more of a self-defeating whimper than the big, important bang it could have been.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Steve Mirarchi Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    100
    The film is interested in a cult of personality. Like Anderson's previous movie, "The Master" is a portrait of megalomania.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Karina Longworth Village Voice (Top Critic)
    It's a film of breathtaking cinematic romanticism and near-complete denial of conventional catharsis. You might wish it gave you more in terms of comfort food pleasure, but that's not Anderson's problem.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Joe Neumaier New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    80
    Phoenix gives the performance of his career.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal (Top Critic)
    As gifts to homo sapiens go, it's a rich one.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Cary Darling Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    80
    The Master may go down as one of Paul Thomas Anderson's most compelling works for two simple reasons: Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Chris Vognar Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    92
    Entrancing from first frame to last. The lights go down, they come up 137 minutes later, and you're left to ask yourself: What on earth did I just see?
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Lisa Kennedy Denver Post (Top Critic)
    88
    The Master is as confounding as it is magnificent.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Glenn Kenny MSN Movies (Top Critic)
    100
    Quite possibly the movie of the year, or the decade.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • David Edelstein New York Magazine (Top Critic)
    Anderson is a romantic who has earned his nihilism. He clarifies nothing, but leaves us brooding on our own confusion.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Anthony Lane New Yorker (Top Critic)
    On reflection, and despite these cavils, we should bow to The Master, because it gives us so much to revere, starting with the image that opens the film and recurs right up to the end.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    63
    "The Master" is fabulously well-acted and crafted, but when I reach for it, my hand closes on air.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    100
    Warts, wanderings, reiterations and all, this is a film destined to be processed in many different ways. And hallelujah to that.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • J. R. Jones Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    [A] challenging, psychologically fraught drama.
    Full Review » 1 year ago
  • Steven Rea Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    75
    The Master is a work that demands attention, and it satisfies on many levels - it is a film of intelligence and ambition, teeming with ideas, assembled with fearless artistry.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    88
    Anderson's audacious films defy facile interpretation. Having seen it just once, I'm not sure I grasp it.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Tom Long Detroit News (Top Critic)
    59
    Both Phoenix and Hoffman are on fire within their characters. If only they'd had some place to go.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    90
    The film is not an epic. It's not a masterpiece. But it is an involving study of men searching, searching for answers, for belonging, for a foothold in life at a time when footholds were hard to find.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Rex Reed New York Observer (Top Critic)
    25
    137 minutes of Joaquin Phoenix's nose hairs is not my idea of appetizing.
    Full Review » 2 years ago