ELLE reviews The Master

Amy Adams stars in the Oscar-tipped film

It’s based on Scientology but this 50s-set drama is more high-brow bromance than hardcore exposé.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is Lancaster Dodd, a charismatic cult leader whose new movement brings devotion and skepticism in equal measure.

Joaquin Phoenix is Freddie Quell, a traumatised sailor seeking comfort in ample bosoms and noxious home brews.

The two seem like opposites but when they meet, Dodd sees a project and Quell sees… well, we’re not sure. A new family? Potential salvation? A bed for the night?

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This film from Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) offers no easy answers and takes its time as each man struggles with his demons. But scene for scene it’s one of the most masterful films of the year: visually stunning, beautifully characterised, impeccably performed.

Amy Adams is brilliant as Dodd’s quietly powerful wife and Phoenix’s half-crazed, hunched-back, curled-lip turn puts him straight back on the Academy’s radar.

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Eccentric, for sure, but unmissable all the same.

The Master is in cinemas now

Watch the trailer for The Master here

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