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ENOUGH SAID (review)

Review by Caitlyn Thompson

Produced by Anthony Bregman, Stefanie Azpiazu
Written and Directed by Nicole Holofcener
Starring James Gandolfini, Toni Collette, 
Catherine Keener, Ben Falcone, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 
Toby Huss. Michaela Watkins, Phillip Brock

Fox Searchlight / Rated PG-13

In a genre plagued by silliness and fantasy, Nicole Holofcener has given us, Enough Said, a rare romantic comedy that captures the awkwardness and self-doubt of real relationships with warmth and humor.

And while the film is rich with depth and information, the subtle and steady composition never allows the production to feel over-crowded.

The powerful cast disappears into the anxiety of middle age offering a genuine portrayal of the uncertainties of life and love.

Enough Said is the real deal romantic comedy starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini as middle-aged divorcees, Eva and Albert, who journey into a skittish relationship that is richly amorous as well as heart wrenching. As their daughters’ departure for college imminently approaches, the couple is faced with the large challenge of being alone. Eva and Albert have been through failed marriages, are “tired of being funny”, and terrified of the pain opening up may cause.

Julie Louis-Dreyfus is phenomenal. Her once dorky demeanor has matured into subtle genius that evokes laughter and tears. From scene to scene she carries the weight of her emotional state brilliantly, in her furrowed brows and awkward body language, with steady uncertainty throughout the production. Dreyfus completely transforms into Eva and the “Elaine dance” never crossed my mind once during the screening.

I must confess that I have never watched The Sopranos. I’ve never seen James Gandolfini in anything but Cinema Verite so I don’t know him as a mob boss—I know him as an incredibly sensitive and powerful actor. His performance here is flawless and genuine. His gentle comedy and awareness of others is incredibly sweet and charming. Albert is flawed but his honesty and awareness are admirable and seductive. It was so saddening to know while watching that this magnificent actor is no longer with us.

Enough Said addresses a central truth in life—that human beings compare their lives with peers, envying, wishing for a status more “worthy”.

We look at the people who seem to have it all figured out and wonder why we can’t be like them. Actions are often judged through prisms of how other people perceive them. We ask for advice, lest we make an obvious mistake and receive ridicule upon faltering. Scarred by her divorce and hiding behind her sarcastic wit, Eva does not trust her own feelings as she begins to fall for Albert.

Trapped in a uncertain point in her life – her massage clients are annoying and need breath mints, her friends’ passive aggressive marriage breeds a lack of faith in love, her daughter is leaving for college – Eva will soon have no choice but to focus on herself, care for herself, think for herself. How horrifying, to really not trust one’s own perspective and choices.

Enough Said has many interesting subplots that are well developed without making the movie feel cluttered and unfocused. I wish to give away as little as possible so I will simply state that from Toni Collette’s (Sarah) cool performance to the endearing charming of young Tavi Gevinson (Eva’s daughter’s best friend, Chloe) every supporting role is powerful and rich with meaning and perspective.

The depiction of envy, nurturing, love, uncertainty, and desire for approval is astounding. Holofcener is genius in her execution across the film through the numerous intertwining relationships. There is too much good to say on that point so I’ll leave it there.

My only criticism would lie with the friendship between bohemian poet Marianne (Catherine Keener) and Dreyfus’ Eva. Is it believable? The seemingly “lower” of the two (Eva) admires the “superior” (Marianne) based on her perceived success. Their friendship once again shows the incredible dynamics of the unsettling self-doubt that can perpetuate inside people fueling relationships of any sort.

Romantic comedies have largely digressed into purely “hot body” relationships that are empty and quite unrealistic. Holofcener’s Enough Said is wonderful film. On par with (although incredibly different in material) As Good As It Gets and When Harry Met Sally. These films brought thematic difficulty and some realism into a genre rife with cliché. All of these movies revolve around flawed characters. But it is precisely those deep faults that make them relatable and desirable. This contrasts with unobtainable perfection of average rom-com protagonists.  

Enough Said brings us back to reality with harsh uncertainties of both romantic and self-love. It also astutely touches on issues of friendship, loyalty, parenting, and the biggest challenge of all, individual reflection and trust.

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