Among the many things there are to love about director Nicole Holofcener’s latest film, Enough Said, (and believe it, there are many), perhaps the most poignant is the simple reality of what’s being presented, and the truth that the actors bring to said reality.
The film finds Eva (played by the impeccable, naturally beautiful, and always characteristically true and charismatically hilarious, Julia Louis-Dreyfus), a divorcée who has lead a comfortably single life for quite a number of years, raising her only child, a well-adjusted daughter, (the kind, gentle type of teenager for whom any parent would hope). Eva leads a relatively simple life, working as an in-home masseuse who works with various clientele the audience is shown brief glimpses of, but even in those short moments humor and meaning is portrayed, and insight into the life of this woman with whom viewers cannot help but become sympathetically engaged.
Albert, (played by the humble, affable, and incredibly lovable James Gandolfini, in one of his final roles preceding his untimely death, and also one, which Louis-Dreyfus and others have said to be closer to what the real Gandolfini was like, rather than the harsh Tony Soprano—the role for which he is so famously known), is an incredibly sympathetic character, also divorced and raising a daughter, and not necessarily looking for love, but certainly not desiring to spend the rest of his days alone, particularly as his daughter’s impending brushing off to college looms.
Marianne, (played by Catherine Keener, against type, one could argue, as generally the big screen often finds Keener in a loving or admirable or maternal type role, whereas here, her character is somewhat distant and untrustworthy, but brilliantly acted as such, as always), is the ex-wife of Albert, and newly branded friend of Eva, after they meet at a party, and Marianne becomes a new client of Eva’s.
It is at this same party where Eva and Albert find each other. And though it’s not exactly fireworks from the start, there is certainly a spark between them that cannot be denied. What’s magical about the film though, is that merely stating that fact in the sentence above makes it sound as though this basic human happening, played out time and time before on the screen and throughout time, would be trite or cheesy. Yet there is such a realism that the actors bring to these living, breathing characters, and that the writing breathes into them too, that viewers cannot help but become immediately ensconced in this story and in all that happens to each of its players.
As Albert and Eva’s relationship blooms, so does Eva’s friendship with Marianne. But the less than desirable sides of Albert (of which Marianne seems to find a perplexing amount, when recounting her past with him to her new friend) lead Eva farther down the road of confusion over her own relationship with him, and it all comes crashing inwards when they inevitably all find out each other knows one another. But rather than merely being a comedy of errors, the real, felt emotions of hurt, angst, anger, and betrayal are all equally felt, realized, and played out on screen in living motion. Never for a second does anything ring false or forced or “Hollywoodized” of these peoples interpersonal relationships. It’s fascinating to witness such verisimilitude on screen.
There is so much to love about this film. Even down to the supporting cast, such as Eva’s longtime friend, Sarah, (played by the brilliant Toni Collette) and her husband Will, (Ben Falcone), who play an interesting married couple, whose relationship adds some comic relief to the story, while maintaining real moments married couples go through as well.
One of Eva’s massage clients, Cynthia (Jessica St. Clair) is always seen face down on the table, but simply talks and talks and talks non-stop, and the interplay of her hilarious voice against Eva’s subtle yet vivid facial reactions is simply hilarious. It’s small moments and details like this that add to the overall picture of a wonderfully drawn film, not to mention a testimony to the high caliber of acting rounded up in the cast.
Enough Said should definitely be on everyone’s must see list, if for no other reason, than because it’s one of the last few hours we, the general public, can spend with the treasure that was and is James Gandolfini. But as anyone who sees it can attest, from the many laugh out loud moments to the tender, heartfelt ones, that most certainly is not the only reason to find joy in such a delightful film.