It must be stipulated that other films may rank slightly higher but they aren’t movies that will be in the Best Picture race. The Master is that movie to finally stir critics, or so it seems right now, in the way no film has since Fincher’s The Social Network. After the Academy “went a different way” the critics were not united, as far as I could tell, behind any one movie, certainly not to score in the 90s or above on Metaritic. But The Master might just be that movie.
Currently running at a single point higher than Beasts of the Southern Wild with more reviews waiting in the wings.
Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers has given The Master the rare four star review. He only hands them out to two, sometimes three films in a given year. He opens his review for The Master with
I believe in the church of Paul Thomas Anderson. Hollywood films give you zilch to believe in, tying up their narratives with a tidy bow so you won’t leave confused and angry. Anderson refuses to do the thinking for you. His films mess with your head until you take them in and take them on. No wonder Anderson infuriates lazy audiences. What a roll call: Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood.
Travers calls Anderson the “foremost filmmaking talent of his generation.” And goes on to write: