The Top 10 Movies Of 2012: Katey's List

By Katey Rich 2012-12-17 07:43:42discussion comments
One movie on this list I first saw in September of 2011, at the Toronto Film Festival. One I caught just three weeks ago. The #1 movie on this list I only realized I loved months after first seeing it. That's the odd thing about making a top 10 list at an essentially arbitrary date, and with full awareness that your opinion on all of these movies could easily change tomorrow, or in a month, or in a year. No Top 10 is ever truly settled, and most critics I know tend to regret them as soon as they're set. Not just for the films we haven't seen that didn't get included, but for the finality of it, and the nagging knowledge that you're never really going to know your top 10 of any year, period.

2012 was a really, really hard year to sum up in list form, and a top 20 would really be more appropriate to reflect the astonishing variety of blockbusters, out-of-nowhere successes and totally tiny arthouse stuff that grabbed me this year. A lot of these movies snuck up on me, only revealing their brilliance long after I'd written a review or thought I'd forgotten about it. Plenty of those not on this list did the opposite, making an amazing first impression and fading so quickly. But for better or for worse, here are the 10 that have stuck with me through the end of this year-- and the ones I think ought to stick with you as well. 2012 has been a really good year for movies; this is only the beginning of what was great out there.

#1: The Master
When I saw this at the Toronto Film Festival I wasn't even sure I liked it, put off by the rambling narrative and the lack of definition about Lancaster Dodd's religion and its impact on Freddie Quell. But the push and pull, deeply affectionate and constantly fractious relationship between those two men has stuck with me indelibly, and I'm still marveling at how Paul Thomas Anderson uses the lush 70 mm visuals to peer inside the mind of two unknowable men, coming away only with more questions that are far more satisfying than actual answers.

Best Moment: Lancaster and Freddie say goodbye for the last time, and Dodd sings "Slow Boat To China" in a haunting, heartbreaking moment of regret.
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