As Freddie insinuates himself within the highest echelons of The Cause and Dodd's own family, Peggy mistrusts him more and more. Adams has the least-showy part among the three leads but in some ways, she might just give the most impressive performance of all. Slowly, steadily, she reveals Peggy as the true brains and muscle of the operation. It's frightening, and it demonstrates yet another facet of Adams' great versatility.
Dodd's Cause aims to provide a path for a post-war America seeking direction, a sense of comfort and community for those who have figuratively (and, in Freddie's case, literally) been at sea. Or at least that's the gruel he's spoon-feeding the mixed-up masses. Anderson, in typically daring fashion, has no interest in assuaging anyone. And so although he's given us a rare jewel box of a film from a visual standpoint, the open-endedness it depicts ultimately resembles ordinary, everyday life.
"The Master," a Weinstein Co. release, is rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity and language. Running time: 137 minutes. Three and a half stars out of four.
Motion Picture Association of America rating definition for R: Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
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