Colorado Springs
64° F
Mostly Cloudy
Mostly Cloudy

Review: ‘Enough Said’ speaks volumes

By Michelle Solomon, Contributing writer
Published On: Sep 30 2013 10:35:16 AM CDT
Enough Said

Fox Searchlight Pictures

There are such things as fate and kismet. Case in point the fact that writer-director Nicole Holofcener cast James Gandolfini in the sensitive and rich role of Albert in her latest movie “Enough Said.”

 

While you may not know Holofcener by name, she’s one of the wittiest female writers-directors around today. No surprise she often gets compared to Woody Allen in the way her characters struggle in the search of their identities  (her stepfather produced a number of Woody Allen films, and she reportedly was no stranger to visiting Allen’s film sets as a kid. She also worked as an editor on Allen’s movie “Hannah and Her Sisters”).

 

“Enough Said” follows the complexities of adult life as Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), an L.A. masseuse  navigates the choppy waters of middle age. She’s single and divorced and is about to face becoming an empty nester as her teenaged daughter is getting ready to leave home to go across the country to college. Eva meets Albert at a party and the two strike up a conversation. He, too, has a daughter leaving for college in the fall.

 

Sparks fly between the pair. Holofcener’s script, with its witty repartee between the two, sets up the chemistry that carries the rest of the film. Both Gandolfini and Louis-Dreyfus show their well-seasoned comedy timing, volleying the quick retorts. 

 

We’re led to believe the two won’t get together as Eva confides the next day to her friend, Sarah, (the always dependable Toni Collette) that she’s not interested in Albert, mostly based on his looks. “He’s kinda fat,” the no-holds-barred Eva declares.

 

Yet, in true-to-life form (we never know who will drop into our laps), the pair begins to date. Holofcener tenderly peels away each layer of their budding relationship, sharing their anxieties about middle age, previous partners, and intimacy.

 

The relationship becomes complicated when one of Eva’s clients, Marianne (Holofcener regular Catherine Keener), ends up having her own emotional ties to Albert.  Keener is wonderful as a famous poet who counts among her friends, Joni Mitchell.  Here’s a bit of trivia and an interesting six degrees of separation in the casting. In reality, another famous musician’s daughter is cast as Keener’s daughter. Eve Hewson’s dad is frontman Bono from U2.

 

As expected, watching Gandolfini’s emotional performance is bittersweet. The “Sopranos” star made this film and another crime drama, called “Animal Rescue,” which will be out in 2014, before he died of a heart attack at the age of 51. As Albert, he delivers a touching portrayal of a regular middle-aged guy who just wants to find happiness. Holofcener gives the character the job as a historian at a television archives museum, which adds yet another sensitive layer to the bearish Albert. Gandolfini runs with everything he’s given, too, making Albert the congenial guy next door.

 

Louis-Dreyfus’s character is really the center of this study and she breaks out of her “Veep” and “Seinfeld” cookie cutter to mine the depths of Eva’s manipulative and insecure soul. Eva’s actions have her grasping at anything to keep her from her own void, including befriending her daughter’s needy pal, Chloe, (Tavi Gevinson), and gathering information about Albert so that she can ensure she can control the relationship with more information than if she had a GPS scan her new beau.

 

But the writer-director keeps the drama to a minimum, instead offering an adult take on the human experience, plus  the added bonus of seeing Gandolfini in one of his most endearing roles.

 

“Enough Said” is a rare gem for many reasons, and an unexpected treasure that shouldn’t be overlooked.