Nicole Holofcener‘s Enough Said is an excellent look at the post-divorce world through the lens of two people that are naturally drawn to each other, yet both going through their own fair share of problems. Enough Said is funny and real in that rare kind of way that allows for you to relate to the story and its characters on such a personal level. The late James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus absolutely spark on screen, creating a strong centered relationship that anchors the film’s plot and many surprises. Enough Said is an honest film that works as both a drama and a comedy in the same way that life twists and turns emotions and feelings into something special and unique.
Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a divorced mother working as a masseuse. Her strongest relationship is with her daughter, who is slowly drifting away from her emotionally as she prepares to go off on her own to college. Other than that, Eva spends most of her time hanging with a couple of friends that try their best to invite her to parties in hopes of meeting someone.
She spends the rest of her time working, which consists of her massaging and her customers simply talking forever about nothing. She lives a life of a routine and while she’s honest and bright, she’s also lonely.
That changes when she meets a man named Albert (James Gandolfini) at a party. He too is divorced with a child and almost immediately the two hit it off. This is of course a classic example of opposites attracting, because initially, Eva doesn’t see much of anything in Albert, but the more she casually talks with him the more she steadily starts to fall for him.
Albert’s feelings progress quickly too and before they know it the two are going out to lunch with their friends and children.
But Eva has also established a relationship with Albert’s ex-wife. She doesn’t connect the dots originally, because Albert’s ex is simply a customer, but it’s not long before Eva makes the connection and is faced with the awkward situation of telling both parties or not.
She goes against it and by doing so learns every little thing that Albert’s ex has to say about him, while also discovering more about his ex too. Eva’s defends her closed mouth on this situation to her friends by saying that she’s simply trying to see if Albert is the one for her or just another man that’s going to hurt her, but she learns the hard way that she’s only poisoning the relationship and getting an altered perception on a man that she really cares about.
Enough Said is such a unique film that’s full of many small surprises. A drama like this is usually marketed towards a specific crowd that rushes out to see these types of films at the local arthouse theater, yet Enough Said has managed to climb over that barricade and reach the mainstream audiences.
That’s because Nicole Holofcener‘s film does a great job portraying such real-life situations with a level of honesty that’s quite refreshing. The film juggles comedy and drama as if they were two genres that have no problems mixing and mashing and most of its success is due to Holofcener’s writing/directing and James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus‘ performances.
It’s hard judging James Gandolfini‘s performance without being a little biased knowing that it is his last, but even knowing that I can’t help but to think that this is one of his best performances ever. Gandolfini has always been known to play tough mobsters or men with a history of killing and here Gandolfini plays an everyday man trying to get over a divorce and find some happiness in another human being. How he approaches the role is what makes it so special and memorable. His performance is funny, but most importantly it’s real. Albert’s flaws are what makes him an interesting character and Gandolfini surprises and impresses.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus is equally amazing. Her Eva is just as lost as Albert, yet she remains positive and happy. Louis-Dreyfus does some heavy lifting here, giving us a wide open look at a character that has a sense of humor and is mostly optimistic, yet very truthful and clear with what she wants out of life. Eva’s ability to express her feelings and emotions so clearly definitely makes her the film’s strongest link and most engaging person to get lost in.
But the combination of Gandolfini and Louis-Dreyfus is what makes the film work so well. Their chemistry is sparking and their on-screen relationship feels true and sincere. It’s a natural progression that only gets better and stronger.
Enough Said might be getting some extra attention due to James Gandolfini‘s tragic sudden death and that’s one of those things that can’t be avoided, yet shouldn’t be the main reason for discussion. Enough Said is a heartwarming film that handles relationships with such a refreshing dose of honesty. Nicole Holofcener‘s writing and direction handles the film’s plot with so much raw honesty and a surprising amount of comedy.
James Gandolfini‘s passing is such an unfortunate thing that is only made worse by the fact that his performance in the film is easily one of his best and we’ll never know if this film was going to mark the beginning of a new part of his career, which could have focused on characters that were more personal and honest like Albert and not so much the typical tough guy gangster roles that he’s normally been attracted to.
See Enough Said because it’s sincere and funny. It’s one of those films that sneaks up out of nowhere and surprises. Don’t skip it or wait for a rental, because it really is one of the better films making its rounds theatrically and you’ll end up leaving the theater with a warmth in your heart and a smile on your face.
Enough Said – 8/10