Rating: 4 / 5
‘Enough Said’ sees two well-known actors from television playing lead roles opposite each other.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus will always be remembered for her work as Elaine on hit sitcom ‘Seinfeld’, and likewise for the late James Gandolfini for his portrayal of the iconic Tony Soprano.
In this movie helmed by writer/director Nicole Holofcener, the two of them play romantic leads in the movie.
Louis-Dreyfus plays main character Eva, a divorcee who works as a masseuse. She meets Albert (Gandolfini) and Marianne (Catherine Keener) separately at a party, all fellow divorcees.
Surprisingly, she quickly strikes up a romance with Albert, the sweet, affable guy who works a quirky job, preserving television programming at a museum.
The two of them don't seem to share much in common on the surface, but are in similar points in life, and both fret about their daughters who are about to go to college.
Eva also becomes friends with Marianne, an almost perfect poet who cannot stop criticising her ex-husband.
As both relationships develop, Eva begins to have doubts about her relationship with Albert, with Marianne's constant ragging poisoning the well of happiness, so to speak.
It's a simple story that is lifted by the finely directed performances of the two leading actors, as there is an easygoing, almost effortless chemistry between Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini.
There are also the frank exchanges between two people who have already played the game before, and Holofcener and her cast have managed to paint a rather believable picture of the many intricacies and difficulties of trying to date again after a broken marriage, of learning to trust and accept somebody again despite having done so and failed.
It's a much more realistic portrayal of how relationships work than most films have been able to capture, how they can go wrong, even with the most genuine and well meaning of intentions. The organic and sensitive nature of the script, coupled with the likable characters is just about enough to overcome a rather contrived and forced plot twist.
Another aspect of the movie that director Holofcener managed to nail down is the role of female companionship.
Whether with Marianne, her best friend Sarah (Toni Collette) or even her daughter, the chats between Eva and the other female characters drive the story forward.
Through these conversations, we learn the many complications of various relationships and in turn, their fears. If nothing else, they also make for some memorable and chuckle-worthy banter.
Louis-Dreyfus has always been spot-on with her comic timing. Here, she manages to do that again and you can’t help but root for her character even after every bad decision she makes in the film.
Gandolfini, who was 51 and died of a heart attack this June, plays against type, in the role of a gentle giant who seems to be always armed with a cheeky line or grin.
‘Enough Said’ scores on its simple pleasures; wonderful performances and sharp writing. And for its much neglected target audience – middle-aged adults – it is a smart, believable and mostly astute comedy about the bittersweet feeling of loving people and hurting them.
It reminds us that companionship is very much about the acceptance of change (or the lack thereof).
A well-made flick that is also a sweet tribute to an actor who will be missed.