One of the most significant challenges of the film is to make us feel as if we're seeing this lifestyle with a fresh eye. The film does a terrific job of putting us in the era and making us feel like we're actually there.
Host Mike Birbiglia kept the awards ceremony moving briskly with presenters: and many more. Career tributes went to Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, David O. Russell, and Jeff Skoll, the Participant Media founder and butt of billionaire jokes.
On the Road starts off speeding, snapping the audience's heads back against their padded seats, and kidnapping them. Taking 'em to the 1940s, America. At some point each voyeur has to decide whether they are in or out.
The acting is certainly good with the three lead actors being outstanding, but Anderson's script hamstrings the movie from beginning to end. Finally it all becomes tiresome and oblique and the audience leaves feeling completely frustrated.
While many want The Master to be an assault on what they see as a kooky and possibly dangerous cult, I'm not convinced that The Master is or has to be about more than its two main characters struggling and ultimately failing to make themselves whole.
This is not a feel-good movie. But it is a master class in acting. It is a haunting fictional story that is all too true. As with great writing, it takes us into the labyrinth of human nature, rife with emotional hunger, desperation and rage.
A lot has been said about whether the Cause is code for Scientology. Anderson drew a lot of inspiration from L. Ron Hubbard and the origins of Scientology, but to say that The Master is about Scientology misses the point.
You can't take your eyes off The Master, neither Paul Thomas Anderson's new film nor Philip Seymour Hoffman in the role of Lancaster Dodd. Francine is tough material, but this tightly conceived near silent film is well worth seeing.