Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Master (2012)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Master (2012)

In Paul Thomas Anderson's well-crafted, visually-compelling, intelligent, R-rated psychological drama, that spawned considerable controversy for its similarities to the leader of the Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard:

  • the gripping scene of an informal technique called "processing" proposed by the "Master": Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the opportunistic, charismatic cult leader of "The Cause," to be used on sex-obsessed, rogue drifter Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) - a series of lengthy, free-association sessions (that required one not to blink) to help relive past traumatic events and eliminate toxicity, negative emotional impulses, and inner turmoil; the series of disturbing psychological questions seemed to conquer Freddie's past traumas and exorcise his demons in a frightening way
  • the startling scene of Freddie's twisted, zany, hallucinated sexual dream-fantasy - of Dodd singing and dancing among many naked (full-frontal) female disciples at the Philadelphia home of one of the Master's devotees
  • the concluding scene between Dodd and Freddie, when Dodd offered an ultimatum to Freddie - to remain and be devoted to "The Cause," or to leave it forever and never return; Freddie was silent - an implicit answer that he would leave; Dodd also added that if Freddie could figure out a way "to live without serving a master" - it would be a first: ("Free winds and no tyranny for you? Freddie, sailor of the seas. You pay no rent. Free to go where you please. Then go. Go to that landless latitude, and good luck. For if you figure a way to live without serving a master, any master, then let the rest us know, will you? For you'd be the first person in the history of the world...If you leave here, I don't ever want to see you again. Or you can stay... If we meet again in the next life, you will be my sworn enemy, and I will show you no mercy"); before Freddie left, Dodd serenaded him with the 1948 popular song: Slow Boat to China
  • in the final scene, during sex with Winn Manchester (Jennifer Neala Page) whom Freddie had just met in an English pub - after asking her "processing" questions, Freddie told her part of a line he had earlier heard from Dodd: "You're the bravest girl I've ever known. (pause for laughter) Now stick it back in, it fell out" (the film's last line of dialogue)

"Processing" of Freddie by The Master

Freddie's Hallucinated Sex Dream-Fantasy of Dodd

The Final Scene


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