Now that "The Master" is finished storming the festival circuit, audiences can see for themselves whether or not Paul Thomas Anderson has directed the next great American masterpiece.
"It is a movie about the lure and folly of greatness that comes as close as anything I’ve seen recently to being a great movie," A.O. Scott wrote in a lengthy rave review in the New York Times. "There will be skeptics, but the cult is already forming. Count me in."
Scott is not alone among critics raving about "The Master": The film has an 85 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with reviewers like Anthony Lane of The New Yorker and Karina Longworth of The Village Voice preaching its gospel.
However, not everyone has fallen under Anderson's "Master" spell.
Writing that "The Master" is not a "masterpiece," TIME critic Richard Corliss espouses that the film doesn't forward Anderson's career. "The problem with 'The Master' is that it doesn’t extend or expand Anderson’s artistic journey," he wrote. (Corliss' review is given the cheeky headline "There Will Be Boredom," a reference to Anderson's 2007 film "There Will Be Blood.")
Calum Marsh is kinder to Anderson in his review for Slant Magazine, but does find that the film is an overall disappointment: "'The Master' inspires only mild curiosity, the feeling that something is missing."
For some critics, the "something" that's missing is answers. "Anderson doesn’t explain. Anything," critic Marshall Fine noted.
The sentiment was echoed by Claudia Puig in USA Today:
"As impeccably rendered as it is, 'The Master' is enthralling, ponderous and elusive in equal parts. Aiming for epic, it's undeniably thought-provoking, but too ambiguous to fully satisfy."
For more reviews of the film, check out the gallery below.
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