Enough Said a Moving Showcase for Two of TV's Finest
- Friday, October 04, 2013
DVD Release Date: January 14, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: September 20, 2013 limited; October 4 wider.
Rating: PG-13 (for sexual content and some language)
Run Time: 96 min
Directors: Nicole Holofcener
Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette, Tracey Fairaway, Tavi Gevinson, Ben Falcone
Writer/Director Nicole Holofcener turns out quietly authentic slice-of-life portraits, each with an emotional power that sneaks up on you. Best described as LA's answer to Woody Allen (but more melancholic than neurotic), Holofcener (Please Give, Friends With Money) tells stories that are at once specific to her city's culture while also connecting to a universal human experience.
Her latest is Enough Said, a character study about navigating middle-aged dating post-divorce. It stars the late, great James Gandolfini (TV's The Sopranos) in his final lead role, and is as poignantly observed as anything Holofcener's done. It doesn't resort to infidelity, addictions, or abuse, but simply examines the all-too-common reasons why many marriages fail.
Holofcener displays a depth of understanding – revealed in part through specific, insightful humor – that's equalled by depths of compassion and grace for genuinely flawed, at times narcissistic, people. She's keenly aware that we often repeat and stay in egocentric behavior not because we're selfish but because we're afraid – and that fear creates an inability to be self-aware, or heal.
Eva (four-time Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus (TV's Seinfeld, Veep)) is an LA masseuse whose love life has been non-existent in the decade since her divorce. With her only daughter's impending transition to college, Eva becomes more intentional about dating, agreeing to dinner with Albert (Gandolfini) who she isn't initially attracted to, mostly because of his weight.
Attractive woman falls for a schlub: sort of a typical male fantasy, but what we have here is a female director staging the male fantasy from a woman's perspective. She falls for him not just because the script needs her to (ala most Judd Apatow comedies or male-directed Manic Pixie Dream Girl concoctions), but because he's an interesting, intelligent guy. Holofcener gets what many male directors lazily miss: her schlub has actual depth, relying on more than meet-cutes, one-liners, or contrived romantic gestures.
Most male directors invent scenarios in which the guy dumb-lucks himself into a relationship with a gorgeous woman, despite his arrested development. But here, Albert – even with his negatives and quirks – is a smart, witty, and sensitive soul, with a humble confidence and strength. You can see why Eva's not initially attracted to him, and then why she eventually is.
The appeal here goes well beyond a "will they or won't they" formula (and given how events unfold, their destiny is not assured). Enough Said delves into the psychological hang-ups that cause otherwise well-intended people to sabotage a very good thing, even love. Much of this is tapped into through Eva's friendship with a new client, Marianne (Catherine Keener, Where the Wild Things Are and a Holofcener regular). Both divorced, they vent about their failed marriages.
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