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American director Paul Thomas Anderson is known for coaxing astonishing performances from actors in big-scale character dramas, and this challenging but visually lush film is no exception. Freddie Quell has been discharged from the navy after World War II and, haunted by regrets and prone to violent outbursts, is having trouble coping with daily life. Fired from his job, he becomes an alcoholic drifter, until a chance meeting sees him move in with the family of Lancaster Dodd, the leader of new cult The Cause (similar to Scientology). A complicated father-son relationship develops between Freddie and Lancaster, who grow increasingly dependent on each other to feed their delusions.
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