The Master is a film about a man who needs to get laid.
I wish I was being sarcastic. But just go see the film for yourself and see if, indeed, the main character needs [or at least thinks he needs] anything other than a good woman to save him.
This being a Paul Thomas Anderson film the themes are have the semblance of being big and the emotions run high. But it's also a film, unfortunately, in which some of Freud's creaky ideas [psycho sexual, the male id and all] play a big role. So much so that it borders on irony - although I don't think it is. [Despite Phoenix's claim that he felt the movie was a comedy].
Freddie is mentally probed and broken down by Dodd who feels obligated to cure him of his base, animal self. But Freddie's [actually Phoenix's] squinting, snarling scowl, oft times impatient anger, explosive fits of rage and frustratedly pacing through scenes tells you this is not going to happen. And, frankly, the guy needs medication - not spiritual help.
**Spoiler of sorts**
In the final scene Freddie is shown having sex with a young women he has just met in a pub. Mission accomplished. What took so long? Whether or not he
will remain happy - given his highly volatile nature - seems unlikely.
But since he is no longer involved with the cult leader [father] or his judgmental wife [mother] or the skeptical family members [brothers and sisters] he can move on with his life into the void of his own disturbed and lonely psyche.
Kent Jones at Film Comment has an insightful review.
Richard Brody at The New Yorker [blog] also has a good review.