The Master Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Drama “The Master”, filmed by Paul Anderson, was released on the big screens in 2012. Despite the commercial failure, the picture was nominated for many awards, including an Oscar, and the actors who played the main roles were recognized as the best at the Venice Film Festival.

The action revolves around a demobilized sailor who, in search of a new meaning in life, meets the charismatic creator of a new religious cult. Soon the veteran realizes that he has found what he was looking for and becomes close to the religious guru. However, the solution that does not always seem right at first glance is such, and soon the former military man begins to have new questions for the teacher, the answers to which can completely change the fate of an overly curious student.

The meaning of the movie The Master 2012

Former Navy soldier Freddie, once in a “civilian”, cannot get used to a peaceful life and find himself in it, he is gnawed by regrets about the past. The horrors he experienced in the war left an imprint on his personality: Freddie suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, which puts a barrier between him and the rest of society, the former ties with which are lost for the hero. The hero earns his living by making alcoholic cocktails.

While traveling on a ship, a man accidentally meets a charming interlocutor who appreciates his bartending abilities. The new acquaintance turns out to be the leader of the religious cult “Origins” created by him. A fascinating conversation begins between a charming philosopher and a former sailor, during which the protagonist shares painful experiences from a past life. The interlocutor reassures him, Freddie receives an invitation to the wedding of the daughter of a religious guru, which he gladly accepts. Gradually, Freddie is more and more influenced by his comrade, who from a friend becomes his master (it is important to take into account the play on words: in English, the word “master” also means “master”).

Today, for many people, new religious movements are just a fashionable hobby that does not require large financial and emotional costs from their followers, but gives a lot in return, ranging from the banal meaning of life to the fascinating search for answers to questions of life that are still insoluble for a person. However, not all of them are harmless, as it might seem at first glance. It is worth remembering the “family” of Charles Manson, and many less bright, but no less dangerous religious cults, whose leaders, subjugating the will of the followers, broke and distorted it beyond recognition, and sometimes caused the death of people.

Having joined the guru’s philosophical family, the protagonist is gradually drawn into the teacher’s preaching work: he participates in the master’s experiments, helping him spread new religious knowledge. But not everything in the teacher-student relationship is smooth: sometimes Freddie asks the guru uncomfortable questions, the answers to which do not suit him.

A few years later, the “Origins” are faced with the law: a police squad arrives at the headquarters of a religious organization, the master is accused of organizing illegal religious activities and arrested.

The world of the protagonist again threatens to collapse in an instant: the person who gave him everything, from shelter to the meaning of life, is being accused of criminal offenses for the ideas he spreads (which for Freddie have long become the truth that needs to be preserved and that should be shared with other people as soon as possible). Starting a fight with the police, the hero goes to jail with his master. There, Freddie again arranges an interrogation of the teacher, accusing him of lying. After the release, the master and his ward reconcile, continuing to work on the development of the teachings of the Origins.

During one of the preaching tours, Freddie commits a peculiar act of betrayal of the master: he, without telling the guru, goes to a small nearby town, where his first love once lived. This departure was the first step towards a break between the sect and Freddie.

After some time, the leader of the “Origins” gets in touch with the student, putting him before two options: to fully devote his life to serving the cult, or to permanently cut off all ties between them. In the final scene, the hero makes a choice.

The meaning of the film’s ending

Modern people in their discussions about freedom often present it as Americanized: this is the same woman towering above the water near Manhatton. This is what each of the living now strives to possess to the extent that his culture, education, age and needs allow him to understand freedom. The director of the film offers to look at the very concept of “freedom” from other positions. What if God did not give man freedom of choice, but forced him to put up with it as a punishment for the fall?

The search for oneself, love and recognition in the outside world often puts a person in front of a difficult choice. Will a person be able to resist the temptation to obey someone else’s will, will he choose his own path to spite the enemy, or will he simply let go of the past in order to try to start all over again?

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