PLOT SUMMARY: Three African American women face difficulties at a predominantly white college.

Our identity is everything to us. The minute we are born, we are integrated into culture, taught about religion and family heritage and after that, we go out into the world and create our futures.

So when we are subjected to unfairness and discrimination, the shock of it rattles us and suddenly life isn’t as easy as we thought it would be when we were kids. After all, our identity is all that we have to hold onto. If we don’t have that; if we are made to doubt it, then how do we cope with anything that life throws at us?

MASTER Movie Plot

When Jasmine enters college, Ancaster, she meets with a girl assigning rooms and when she sees which one she’s in, calls the other students and promptly announces that she got “the” room. Jasmine is of course curious but receives no reply from them.

On the other side, Professor Gail Bishop has been promoted to Master of Ancaster College and though she is thrilled, she is reminded of her race too many times. She takes it with a pinch of salt because at the end of the day she feels she can make a difference in the college that has few students of color.

Jasmine has a roommate called Amelia who invites other students over. One of them, Tyler, finally reveals that the room they are in was where a black student hung herself in 1965 by the witch. 

Later in class, Jasmine speaks up her opinions in Liv’s class, the only black professor in college apart from Master Gail, and is told she’s wrong. Jasmine is surprised because she used to be a straight A student in high school.

Jasmine is further aggrieved when she receives a failing grade for her assignment because she doesn’t think there is a race issue in the Scarlet Letter. She meets with Liv who tells her she didn’t understand the assignment and makes a comment about Jasmine being from a stereotypical neighborhood. Jasmine corrects her and tells her she used to live in the suburbs and did very well in high school.

Jasmine already had issues with sleepwalking and now they become worse with her waking up with scratches on her arm and neck.

At the meeting, the board members of the college are discussing Liv’s tenure and while Gail supports her friend,  the others put her in a corner and ask her to give her opinion without bias.

Gail was already visited by Jasmine who had lodged a complaint against Liv for purposely giving her a failing grade. She reveals this to the others reluctantly and they decide to see how the issue will be resolved before they grant Liv a tenure considering she doesn’t have much of a publishing history.

Gail feels pushed against the wall too and can’t understand why her house is infested with maggots. She keeps calling the exterminators and they don’t finish before Gail finds more maggots.

She goes to live with Liv while the pest control work goes on and they both feel like they wouldn’t be able to survive without one another.

In the meantime, Jasmine feels singled out for everything including being the only one stopped when entering a party.

Or when the others see her, they play some profanity-laden rap music that doesn’t entertain her much.

When she goes into the kitchen for a respite, Tyler comes over and after flirting for a bit, kisses her. Amelia walks in and is annoyed. She walks off and Tyler follows her.

The next morning, following a nightmare, Jasmine is awoken by a knock on the door. It is Gail who asks her what happened. She then points to the door where the words “Leave” is carved out along with a noose.

The racist incident is barely reported when Jasmine and Gail come across a burning cross right in front of their rooms.

Jasmine is subjected to further snubs from her roommate, meets with another black girl who tells her to join her group for black people, and then later, a presence in the room pushes her out the window.

Jasmine survives and awakens in the hospital. She hears some noise coming from the next bed and goes to help the woman only for her to flinch and tell Jasmine to keep her colored hands away from her.

Jasmine feels her self-esteem slipping. She now believes there is no point in raising her voice for what she believes in.

She goes back to the college and Gail sees her and asks if she is alright and that she didn’t have to return too quickly. Jasmine is zombie-like as she replies that she has to do something. She glances up at her room window and sees what looks like a witch.

MASTER Ending Explained with Spoilers!

Gail has a sudden intuition and goes up to check on Jasmine later to find her hanging from the ceiling.

Gail becomes grief-stricken and mopes around. The calls she’s been getting for Elizabeth whom she thought was a student in college, turns out to be from a woman from the  conservative group who lives in the woods. She delivers shocking information: Liv is actually a white woman.

Gail feels betrayed by her friend and goes to confront her at a party held to celebrate Liv getting a tenure.

As soon as Jasmine committed suicide, the college decides to push its image of inclusivity and diversification by giving Liv a permanent position. Gail loses it when Liv puts on some hip-hop music and forces her friend to dance.

Gail reveals in front of everyone that Liv isn’t a black woman at all. No one believes her. Gail looks at the photos all around the room, of the previous masters and professors and notices they are all white and that the black woman in the photo is a maid.

She realizes and announces it publicly that she was being used as a maid to clean up all the racism mess.

Liv comes up to her later and tells her that her mother lied to Gail.

She wasn’t born to white parents but was a product of an illegitimate affair her mother had with a black person.

Gail, disillusioned, walks out. The guard outside asks for her ID but she tells him she doesn’t work here and was looking to leave. She’s shown the exit and while she’s walking there, several students call out for Master Gail Bishop but she doesn’t respond.

The end.

The movie starts off interestingly enough.  We are drawn to the characters and their struggle and the rumor about the witch who picks a student to kill every year and beckons them at 3:33 a.m.

Whether the witch was there or not remains ambiguous.  At one point we see the witch and Jasmine sure does get up at 3:33 a.m. and what of the unexplained scratches on her?

It is then that we must assume that the witch did exist but she didn’t kill students, she cursed them with insecurities and destroyed their confidence. Ultimately Jasmine felt so dejected that she killed herself realizing no matter how much the world changed, some prejudices will never be destroyed.

It doesn’t make sense why Gail kept seeing maggots. Was she really made to live in a maggot-ridden house or was it evidence of a supernatural presence that was targeting Gail too?

The ending definitely needed more clarification but the movie on its whole was rather enjoyable and will keep you guessing.

Master is available on Amazon Prime Video. 

Scare scale: 3/5

[email protected] (Palvi Sharma)

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