So I'm going to be lazy and link this post to a review I wrote of the film a few days after seeing it with the CR5FC group in Ithaca back in September 2012. Here's some of what I wrote:
"Purling white waves lapping over an impossibly bright blue sea. So begins THE MASTER, Paul Thomas Anderson’s hypnotizing and physically imposing masterpiece about yearning love and the struggle between carnality and spirituality that thwarts it. No other film this year or the next will feel as singular and strange; few other films in recent memory have felt so commanding and confounding, beautiful and ferocious. This is easily the film of the year, and to echo Glenn Kenny, quite possibly the film of the still nascent decade. Not since Anderson’s last film THERE WILL BE BLOOD have I felt such an equal mixture of astonishment and befuddlement; befuddlement not at the obscurity of the vision, but befuddlement at the mastery and richness of its telling. Paul Thomas Anderson is the most arresting and fascinating filmmaker working today. He has come in command so thoroughly of his own uniquely strange and symbolic voice that the only artistic landscapes I can compare his to extend outside of cinema to the theater of Edward Albee or the fiction of Flannery O’Connor. Certainly, Anderson still wears his Altman badge proudly, but his cinema has become so chiefly his that there is nothing that looks or feels like it. He is incontrovertibly in a class of his own. This is a complete master-class in directing, cinematography, acting, and brilliant writing."
Here is a link to the rest of the review: Jeff's Master Review.
I still stand by everything I wrote in that initial review (although there is another film from this decade that is higher on my list). I also am damn proud of having written such an extensive piece of writing on a film. That review is definitely the closest I ever got to mimicking a "professional" review. I don't know if I'll ever have the time or patience to write something like that again.
STATS: One more PTA film coming up. BOOGIE NIGHTS almost made it on here.