• “What am I? Who am I? Is this me?”

Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master looks like the consensus choice among critics as the best U.S. movie of 2012 (it’s the only one, besides Richard Linklater’s Bernie, to show up on all three of our year-end lists in the Reader)—meaning there should be at least a few hundred different arguments in favor of seeing it. If you haven’t yet, be sure to catch it on the largest screen possible as soon as you get the chance. Like Metropolis, 2001: A Space Odyssey, or Lawrence of Arabia (currently playing at the Music Box in a new DCP restoration), The Master plays out on a giant scale out of thematic necessity. It will not be the same movie outside a theater.

I look forward to revisiting this and to seeing what different critical responses emerge over the years. In the meantime, I’ll let Thomas Mann have the final word; following the jump is a relevant quote from his story “A Man and His Dog”: