Directed by Nicole Holofcener
Staring; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini,
Enough Said is a very rare beast indeed, an age-appropriate love story between two middle-aged people. What should be a thoroughly mundane affair is given poignancy by being one of the last roles performed by James Gandolfini (as acknowledged in the opening dedication ‘For Jim’), and by Nicole Holofcener’s excellent script and direction.
Divorcee Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) is experiencing anxiety about the idea of her only daughter leaving for college, and her job as a masseuse is providing her with little that can be considered relief. One night at a party she meets two people who offer a change to her routine life. The first is Marianne (Catherine Keener), a remarkable organised poet, who becomes first her client and later her friend. The second is Albert (James Gandolfini), a man who although Eva is not initially attracted to she ends up in a relationship with after discovering common ground. As Albert and Eva’s relationship tentatively grows, Eva discovers a source of information about Albert that slowly starts to sour her perspective.
That’s it. No alien space elves wanting to destroy reality, or drug deals gone horribly wrong, just the drama of ordinary life. From this simple premise Nicole Holofcener (Friends With Money) crafts a charming romantic comedy. The script has a feeling of authenticity about it, never going for the grand romantic gesture or over dramatising a situation. Enough Said instead presents an everyday world of those made protective and slightly cynical by divorce, as well as the march of time. It is a study of companionable love rather than the throes of passion. Albert and Eva’s relationship is that of two people that have been hurt before, but are cautiously willing to try again.
Filled with well written dialogue delivered with good comedic timing, the atmosphere is naturalistic rather than rapid fire patter. Holofcener allows her actors the space to play off each other, allowing for awkward pauses and shy glances. The scenes seem richer because of it.
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss demonstrates that she has lost none of her comic timing since her Seinfeld days. However her performance is one of an older women that is less confident of her place in life. It is a turn filled with frowns of frustration, furtive glances for approval and the occasional pout . Overall an entertainingly expressive effort, but still feels like a performance. By contrast, Gandolfini inhabits the role. His gentle, loveable slob is vastly different from the many thug characters that have punctuated his career. Albert has no air of menace about him and quite a degree of charisma hidden beneath his girth and slovenly appearance.
Charming and surprisingly funny, the sum of its parts makes Enough Said vastly more entertaining than the ordinary rom-com premise would have you initially believe.