The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

Navigating College Stress: Effective Strategies and Le Moyne Resources for Student Well-being
Mai Aljanabi, Staff Writer • September 27, 2023

College life presents unique challenges and stressors for students, impacting their mental well-being and overall success. This article delves...

via The Huntington
Persistence Into Brilliance: Le Moyne Graduate and Actor Makes Major Mark
Kamilla Shahzad, Staff Writer • September 26, 2023

In the world of theater, Le Moyne College graduate John Douglas Thompson is known to possess an exceptional ability to captivate audiences, effortlessly...

Le Moyne Alum and MLB Star Josiah Gray Nominated for Roberto Clemente Award
Michael Scalise, Staff Writer • September 25, 2023

Here at Le Moyne, the phrase “Greatness meets Goodness” is at the very foundation by which the school stands, and it is safe to say that...

Career Advising & Development at Le Moyne
Career Advising & Development at Le Moyne
Carly Nicolai, Editor in Chief • September 18, 2023

“What do you want to do with your degree?” It’s a question many college students have heard before, whether it comes from friends and...

Growing Sunshine-Colored Flowers: Remembering Father Bosch
Growing Sunshine-Colored Flowers: Remembering Father Bosch
Stephanie R. Duscher, Staff Writer • September 16, 2023

Many Le Moyne students have likely walked by the lovely gardens outside the Jesuit Residence–a beautiful touch of color amidst the many cloudy...

“The Master” is fascinating, even if it’s no masterpiece

There are but a few absolute truths in the world we live in today. Among others, man cannot fly on his own, every living thing will eventually die and Paul Thomas Anderson can do no wrong. After giving us some of the most daring and thrilling dramas of the past couple of decades (“Magnolia” and “There Will Be Blood,” in particular), Anderson has returned with perhaps his most ambitious work yet, “The Master.”

Like Anderson’s past works, “The Master” is an absorbing, complex character study. It centers on the story of Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), a WWII vet suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, though there may be more to it than that (it’s just one of many questions we’re left to speculate on). He hops from job to job, finding satisfaction only in sex and his nearly-lethal alcoholic concoctions.

Freddie’s life changes, however, the moment he meets Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the leader of a new movement known as “the Cause.” Dodd sees in Freddie a new and exciting challenge: determine what ails Freddie and cure him.

On the outside, “The Master” appears to be little more than the story of how two seemingly unrelated men form a strong bond. But this is a Paul Thomas Anderson film, so there are layers upon layers of subtext that the audience is left to decipher; chances are no one perspective will be the same as another. The title alone brings up a dozen or so queries: Who is the “Master?” Is it the influential Dodd? The WWII vet who can’t seem to shake his ways? Maybe it’s the mere presence of Dodd’s wife, Peggy (Amy Adams)?

As usual with Anderson, the writing, directing and cinematography (the latter courtesy of Mihai Malaimare, Jr.) are stellar, but the ensemble cast remains the film’s selling point. As the erratic Freddie, Phoenix dives completely into the role, never once coming up for air. That he manages to make Freddie neither completely sympathetic nor thoroughly unlikable is a testament to his dedication to the character.

Although Adams always shines, the strength of her performance here is still quite remarkable. At first, Peggy seems like the typical 1950s housemaid, but as the film progresses, we come to learn of her true, somewhat shocking nature; Adams is appropriately (and memorably) terrifying. Hoffman’s performance, while nothing less than stirring, comes off as the lesser of the three, but considering who he’s up against, that’s not saying much.

What ultimately separates “The Master” from something like “There Will Be Blood” is the fact that the viewer is more of an observer to the action (a fly on the wall, if you will). While it’s an interesting approach, it robs the film of some of its emotional power. We are always engaged in what happens to Freddie and Dodd, but we never feel a strong connection to either of them. That being said, this is merely a minor issue in an otherwise terrific film.


4.5 out of 5 Dolphins

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