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Manohla Dargis and Robert Downey Jr., Sittin’ in a Tree...

Just pretend that Renzo Piano masterpiece is Manohla Dargis, will ya? She's photographed even less frequently than Nikki Finke!

Has Manohla "Movie Killer" Dargis gone soft? Evidence seems to suggest she has! Not only did she admit to composing her 2008 year-end top-ten list "in the admittedly alien spirit of optimism," but she was also part of the Times triumvirate that crushed on Anne Hathaway back in January like a fourth-grader on Valentine's Day. And now, in her review of The Soloist, the formerly fearsome film critic proves herself to be a big softie when it comes to the talents of one Robert Downey Jr. Not only does she describe Downey's work in the film as a "darkly shaded, nuanced performance, one that deepens this film with its insistence on the fundamental mysteries of human character," but she goes on to slather him with this gushy sentiment: “The Soloist wouldn’t work half as well without Mr. Downey’s astringent, bristly take on a man whose best intentions eventually collide with difficult truths. The actor is a wonder." Get a room, you two!

Movie Review: The Soloist [NYT]