The Master's back. Paul Thomas Anderson's brooding dalliance with post-war lostness has certainly been one of the most divisive films that's come along lately. A weighty meditation buoyed by at times inhuman performances by Phoenix and Hoffman, The Master seems to be giving either too much or not enough to audiences, can be simultaneously too straightforward and too abstract. Today I heard a movie-goer who had seen when it played at the Bookshelf a few months back refer to it as artsy farsty.
I don't know if I'd go so far as to call The Master artsy fartsy, but I wonder if maybe the aversion some people are having to the film (not me; I love the daylights out of it) has something to do with its sometimes uncomfortable placement between The Real Stuff and The Artsy Fartsy Thing. For a clarification of these terms, here's Werner Herzog: