Written by Zac Platt.
Enough Said is a down-to-earth romantic comedy following divorcees Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Albert (James Gandolfini) as they slowly ease into a new relationship with each other. The wrinkle comes when Eva, a masseuse by trade, learns her new client and friend Marianne (Catherine Keener) turns out to be Albert’s ex-wife, and begins to take her criticism of him to heart. Written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, Enough Said is a refreshingly natural comedy with strong performances all round and some really honest discussions about insecurity without ever shoving the subtext down your throat. It’s a little light on plot and the b-stories don’t really conclude satisfactorily, but the value of the film is in character and chemistry, which Enough Said has in spades.
It’s impossible not to feel invested in Eva and Albert’s earnest and warm relationship. Everything feels authentic in their blossoming romance and it doesn’t hurt that Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini have excellent chemistry on-screen. Without ever relying on the dialogue, both manage to convey a need for each others’ affection and validation, with a heart-warming appreciation when it’s reciprocated.
In fact, almost all the relationships in Enough Said are handled successfully. Given the conflict is largely driven by Eva growing closer to two people who despise each other, it’s appreciated that the importance of what her friendship with Marianne means to them both is given the care it deserves. Marianne could very easily have been given an antagonistic role that served only to take away from Albert’s value. Parts of that are certainly there, but they’re presented as being obstacles to a rewarding acquaintance based on a mutual life situation and a fear of loneliness.
Another nice surprise was Eva’s camaraderie with her daughter’s friend Chloe (Tavi Gevinson). There’s something really comforting about these two finding someone kindred at completely different, yet equally confusing, stages of their life. Unfortunately, it leads to the subplot of Eva’s daughter Ellen (Tracey Fairaway) beginning to resent their bond as Chloe and Eva spend more and more time together. When filed under “teenage jealousy” it’s perhaps understandable, but in practice it’s totally overblown as it’s clear how much they mean to each other and their friendship only develops as a result of Ellen not being around to spend time with them. There’s an implication that Eva is trying to replace her college-bound daughter and that the audience should disapprove of the two growing close (especially given the way the plot-line wraps up), but that just doesn’t sit right and only serves to taint that corner of the film.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a charming personality and Enough Said’s Eva fits her like a glove. There’s a neurosis and neediness that sits just below the surface, forever kept at bay with a raised eye-brow and a candid quip. You can tell she is accepting of her situation without being overly thrilled by it, making it all the more satisfying when she looks up at Albert with that spark of hope.
Gandolfini, who tragically passed away this June, had previously said he would love to do more comedies but that no one seemed to ask, which is more the shame after seeing his genuine performance in Enough Said. Gandolfini brings traits of Tony Soprano to Albert; the insecurity, the frustration, and at times the indifference, but it’s in a gentler, more welcoming package. You can tell he has his guard up even when delivering a punch line, worried Eva won’t laugh and confirm all the doubts he has about himself. Gandolfini is a pleasure on-screen, it’s depressing to think we only have one more appearance from him after this.
Holofcener’s filmography in television shows in her approach to Enough Said, which is in no way a slight. The film has that gentle indie quality about it, letting the characters carry the movie rather than the plot. The downside is that the stakes of the main conflict seem avoidable and the subplots feel a little undercooked, leaving the film lacking for something that would make it stand out a bit more. Other than that, the tone is cosy and inviting, slowly easing you into an ear-to-ear smile as Eva and Albert find that special something they’ve been missing. Full of heart, lovable characters and a brisk 93 minute runtime, Enough Said is perfect if you’re in need of a top-notch feel-good flick.
THE REEL SCORE: 8/10