Paul Thomas Anderson: The Master

In episode six of Filmography Club, our discussion and inspection on Paul Thomas Anderson’s body of work continues. As we move sequentially through his releases we now come to the post-WWII psychological drama The Master. The 2012 film depicts Joaquin Phoenix as discharged military serviceman Freddie Quell and his encounters with enlightened guru Lancaster Dodd, played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. The narrative of the film contains many curious overlaps with that of Scientology, the sci-fi-gone-religion from L. Ron Hubbard, but Anderson and many cast members have refuted any direct parallels; likely as a precaution against legal recourse.

To discuss this dense film, host Jason Caviness is joined by Becky Delius; a well-read, erudite, clever commentator on many topics including cults and faux religions. They dive right in to their conversation on PTA’s psychological character study that is, ultimately, a “nihilist exploration on the futility of being a human being.” A dark synopsis but one that leaves lots of room to discuss character arcs or lack thereof.

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Music by Uncle Skeleton

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