Stop Asking if Paul Thomas Anderson's New Movie Is About Scientology, Even Though It Probably Is

If you're a fan of Paul Thomas Anderson films — Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood — chances are you're excited about The Master, which has already been hyped to death by festival audiences.

But what is The Master about?

Here's where things get tricky. The New York Times' Arts Beat vaguely summarizes it in reference to Anderson's repeated use of the phrase "time travel":

The sometimes mumbled references to time travel were an attempt to explain both the deep descent into a setting in the mid-20th century, and an exploration of the persistence of the soul by [Philip Seymour] Hoffman, who plays a pseudo-philosopher of sorts in the movie.

Pseudo-philosopher, mid-20th century, exploration of the soul, and weird sci-fi elements — hey, that sounds like Scientology.

But in the name of L. Ron Hubbard, would you please stop asking about that already? While Anderson has acknowledged the creation of Scientology as one of his inspirations, he now no longer wants to talk about it.

Mr. Anderson rolled his eyes and was dismissive when a reporter asked about parallels between his movie and Scientology. He basically dodged the question. But that could ultimately be an issue with the moviegoing public.

Yes. Namely, is this Anderson's gritty reboot of Battlefield Earth?

What Anderson would say was this: "I don't consider that we're dealing with a cult." And then he talked around the question for a while, because you're all fools for trying to simplify his art.

Anyway, Paul Thomas Anderson has a new movie that might be about Scientology, kind of.

[Image via AP]