By Kristy Strouse
There are several reasons why Nicole Holofcener’s foray into middle-aged adult relationships is touching and natural, and one of them is because of the late and very talented James Gandolfini, in one of his last roles. After playing iconic tough characters, this movie allows us to see a softer side of the actor and Julia Louis-Dreyfus and his onscreen chemistry is undeniable and wonderfully unexpected. The film works on multiple levels, primarily because of the star leads, but also because of the honesty and warmth of the story. The writing, also by Holofcener, is exceptional because of its keen narrative focus and consistent humor.
In this romantic-comedy massage therapist, Eva (Dreyfus) and Albert (Gandolfini) are both divorcees with a child about to head to college when they meet at a party. At first, it doesn’t seem like there is any attraction, but when the two start dating it’s clear that they have a real connection. There’s a comfort level with Albert that Eva isn’t used to, and this makes it easy to talk and even easier to laugh. This translates to the audience as well, as Enough Said is utterly hilarious at times. In a strange twist of fate, Eva also meets Marianne (Catherine Keener) at the same party, and she gains her as a client. The two become fast friends and often spend their time talking about relationships, specifically their ex-husbands.
As Eva and Albert become more serious, she soon realizes that Marianne is actually his ex. This opens an intriguing conceit for a film, and it makes her question what to do. Should she continue to listen to Marianne openly gripe about her ex to get some sort of inside scoop? Or should she come clean and realize how inappropriate this is? She bounces the idea off her close friends, married couple Sarah (Toni Collette) and Will (Ben Falcone), and her daughter Ellen (Tracey Fairaway). Despite their protests for her continued deceit, she keeps the two parties oblivious and it slowly begins to stain her perception of him.
We all have our own dirty little secrets and annoying habits, but discovering those is part of the ride. If we know these things early on without discovering them ourselves, how does that shape the relationship? What might annoy one person could elate another, so taking someone’s opinion of their ex, an experience in itself that’s (most of the time) going to end negatively, shouldn’t hold much weight. Yet, her desire for self-preservation makes sense and her decisions understandable even when you know they’re wrong. You know this is going to be a train wreck, but “Enough Said” makes it easy to invest.
“I Believe “Enough Said” to be Nicole Holofcener’s best work mainly because of its staying power and its freshness…The film, nor Gandolfini, have lost their impact.”
This seed of dishonesty allows for well-timed hilarity and plenty of emotional moments, both heart-warming and stomach-turning. The film has a terrific ensemble cast, and the writing is especially witty. Even when the plot heads into predictable waters it’s okay because the movie is just that charming. Dreyfus is made for a lead romantic role and the relationship displayed is one that you can not only believe but truly root for.
I believe “Enough Said” to be Nicole Holofcener’s best work mainly because of its staying power and its freshness. Even now, as I rewatch six years after its release, it’s clear that this is a step above most in the genre. The realism enacted in the building and dissecting of a relationship and the effortlessness of the dialogue makes it easy to fall in love with. `
The film, nor Gandolfini, have lost their impact. It can be difficult and bittersweet at times because of his passing, but if you haven’t had the opportunity to catch “Enough Said” it’s a relationship worth making. If you have… renew it; there may just be something you pick up on that you didn’t the last time. At the very least you’ll be pleasantly reminded of what a perfect cast and a captivating script can do, all while being reminded that when it comes to love… flaws are part of the magic.