December 31, 1995 [Restoration]
What a face Robert Downey Jr. has: charming, anxious, deadpan, melancholy, pensive, boyish, rueful, and on and on--and all at once. I read a little gossip, see a little Entertainment Tonight, and know his reputation: another party boy raising his eyebrows at a square world that isn’t invited on the ride. So far, it’s a part of the charm and a piece of the rue.
Restoration, then, sneaks in a little irony for him--and he puts on his wig and feathers and ruffles and wades into what may be his own needs. But the picture’s more than that: It looks back at Hollywood’s Golden Age and sees much to restore there as well, and gets pretty charming itself with its contrivances and resolutions, rewards and losses. It earns ours tears, but it knows it should--and I’m more than happy to comply, if only because it loves so much the world it’s making, and wants to do what it can for the people in it. They made a humane movie, and Downey molds most of the terrain of that world, his eyes slow to blink as he appropriates the middle distance like no one else, claiming that suspended, uncertain space with a firm gaze--even while his grip grows unsteady and he looks away once or twice as he feels himself falling.