The great movies of the period Argo depicts, even when they were period pieces, nailed something about the American experience in the moment in which they were made. Argo doesn't reflect who we are now; it argues for what Hollywood can be. It's an embodiment of the kind of quality adult film that really shouldn't be an endangered species, and it's a love letter from its director and star to the industry that made him, briefly shunned him, and — as the success of The Artist proved last year — loves nothing more than to be adored.

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