“Master” Trailer: Is It About Scientology?

The first full trailer of Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” gives us a much more complete picture of its story: WWII vet Freddie Sutton (Joaquin Phoenix) struggles to find his way after the war, and ultimately finds himself by the side of Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and his wary wife Mary Sue (Amy Adams). A self-described “writer, doctor, nuclear physicist [and] theoretical philosopher,” Dodd is also as the beguiling head of a faith-based organization, into which Freddie gets deeply involved. That organization has been rumored to be based on Scientology, and Dodd on its founder L. Ron Hubbard, and this trailer certainly features lines that echo common criticisms of the religion. One skeptic says that “good science by definition allows for more than one opinion” before suggesting Dodd’s group is a “cult,” and Dodd’s own son Val (“Friday Night Lights”‘ Jesse Plemons) tells Freddie of his father, “He’s making all this up as he goes along — you don’t see that?”

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