What’s it About?
A divorced woman who decides to pursue the man she’s interested in learns he’s her new friend’s ex-husband.
Directed by Nicole Holofcener
8 out of 10
Director Nicole Holofcener (Parks and Recreation, Friends with Money) successfully brings a mature and smart romantic comedy to the screen, that she also wrote, called “Enough Said.” It is a pleasing, cute and delightful little film that is a grown up tale about parenting, divorces, friendships and re-finding true love during the awkward middle years of one’s life where some feel like they’ve hit a brick wall in seeking out love and acceptance.
Holofcener nimbly and skillfully explores these situations in this very adult comedy that, unfortunately, will be most likely overlooked by anyone under 40. But I am making a generalization and I feel the film can relate to those of any age. “Enough Said” has a very old Hollywood feel to it. When older films about relationships were still innocent, involving and charming. The types of films that “feel good” without being manipulative, saccharin and banal.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep) plays a private masseuse, in California, named Eva, who is a divorcee and is raising her only child, Ellen (Tracy Fairaway) who is prepping to leave for college. Eva’s close Doctor friend, Sarah, is played by Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense, Hostages). She is close to Sarah and her husband, Will (Ben Falcone) and does things with them but is still feeling lonely and unlucky in finding someone to spend time with romantically.
She juggles her job, which is routine and repetitious, with raising her daughter and being a surrogate parent to Ellen’s close friend, who attaches herself to Eva much to the chagrin of her Mother. Eva can’t seem to get anything right and she doubts herself and her ability to find someone to share her life with. When Eva decides not to really look anymore, it is at a party she attends, with Sarah and Will, where she meets Albert, a Television archivist and historian.
Albert is played by the late (and great) Mr. James Gandolfini. Holofcener handles the meet up with such a believable eye for detail and amusing realism. Sarah introduces them and they admit openly to not being attracted to anyone at the party even though they tend to glance at each other several times while standing around at the festivities. It is a very cute moment and the actors shine in the scene, gladly.
Holofcener favors witty banter, close ups of her actors and light and breezy composition that works really well here. Her dialogue is gracious and magnetic as are her characters. Eventually, Eva and Albert take to each other but it is not an over the top rom-com romp. The movie unfolds slowly with class and respect to the characters and material. Dreyfus and Gandolfini really have a true and tangible chemistry here. The exchanges always remains spontaneous and real and it is a pleasure to watch. One date, to an ice cream shop, is quite funny and warm.
Not everything is wine and roses for Eva, though. Holofcener throws in a twist to complicate things. Eva, at the same party, meets a very hip and earthy Poet named Marianne played by the beautiful and Holofcener regular, Catherine Keener (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Captain Phillips). Marianne becomes one of Eva’s regular massage customers and the 2 grow close, all the while, Albert continues to courts Eva. Marianne and Eva form a bond and she begins to confide in Eva all of her personal history regarding her ex-husband who she still holds some animosity and rancor for. Now, if you are adept at figuring out most rom-coms, then you know where this is all going, no? Yeah, it goes there, gang. But it is both funny and kind of tragic as Eva and Albert’s relationship grows a bit strained because of the impressions that Marianne drills into Eva’s head.
The movie is a character and situation propelled comedy with a flair for some well placed comedy. The cast, though, is the reason to watch this funny and quirky film. Gandolfini is amazing to behold here as his Albert is a character like no other he has sunk his teeth into. It is a heart-warming performance that is a direct wink to his fans and is the most bittersweet as well, since Gandolfini was taken from us too soon.
Gandolfini disappears into the oft shy Albert and we immediately love this big bear of a guy and we wish we all knew someone like him. He just shines in this role and has a steady gleam in his eye that is irresistible. Holofcener breaths such life into all of the characters from Sarah, who is a chronic furniture re-arranger (Collette is always fantastic to watch anyway) to even Eva’s daughter, who tries to process some familial misgivings about Eva as well.
But this is Julia-Louis Dreyfus’ show all the way. She is endearing, love-able and awkward. Her Eva is pleasing and readable while remaining dynamic. Dreyfus gives us doses of complexity, like in a very amusing scene where she actually hides behind a large plant at Marianne’s house, in order to avoid meeting her daughter. She shows us that she still has those improvisational comedic chops she honed in “Seinfeld” and continues to show in “Veep.”
“Enough Said” is a smart film that is sharp and delves brilliantly into what lies beneath the affluent exteriors of professional and creative folks in this modern age of quick satisfaction. It is a wonderful film that needs to reach a much larger audience. Ultimately, “Enough Said” is a generational comedy with a very old soul that is real, genial and alluring. Watch it with someone you love and you’ll catch yourself grinning from ear to ear. Recommended!