Cynical romantic comedies are tough to get right, but director Nicole Holofcener hits the nail on the head with Enough Said.
Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a Los Angeles masseuse who is seemingly bored by her work. She’s divorced and struggling to accept that her daughter is set to go away to college and leave her behind. She finds an amusing distraction in Albert (James Gandolfini), who she agrees to go out with despite not being attracted to him.
As Albert grows on her, Eva forms a bond with one of her clients (Catherine Keener), who confides in her about her ex-husband – and she doesn’t have too many flattering things to say about him. The identity of the man in question is pretty obvious to the audience and eventually to Eva. Matters become complicated when Eva decides to keep what she discovers to herself.
The light-hearted flick is refreshing largely because most films in the genre focus on young people falling in love. Sure, every now and then a Something’s Gotta Give or a Hope Springs comes along, but such projects are few and far between. Furthermore, the film doesn’t paint a glossy, unrealistic portrait of relationships but rather captures the harsh reality of finding companionship post-divorce and after 40.
Will you be blown away by it? Probably not, but it’s a worthwhile storyline in which viewers can easily lose themselves. The pairing of Dreyfus and Gandolfini is surprisingly perfect as the two complement one another brilliantly. It’s a treat to watch their scenes (which allowed for a bit of improvisation) start off witty and eventually become more emotionally charged.
Dreyfus has managed to defy the so-called “Seinfeld curse” with award-winning TV roles and with Enough Said she further proves her impressive range as an actress. Of course, the film is hard to watch because it’s one of Gandolfini’s last (the forthcoming crime drama Animal Rescue is set to be his final on-screen appearance). The actor, who died of a heart attack in June, became an icon for his riveting small screen work but seldom earned proper recognition for his film roles.
Within the last few years, Gandolfini had a number of criminally underrated turns in several small dramas. This includes his portrayal of a grieving father in Welcome to the Rileys, an alcoholic hit man in Killing Them Softly, and a cancer stricken murder target in Violet & Daisy. Last year, he reunited with Sopranos creator David Chase for the ’70s set rock drama Not Fade Away. Again, his performance went largely unnoticed despite being incredibly moving.
Enough Said serves as yet another reminder of what the film and television industry lost with the iconic actor’s death.
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