Enough Said

Review by © Jane Freebury

One of the best things about this mid-life romantic comedy from writer-director Nicole Holofcener is the way it’s told. There’s wry humour, insight and a generosity that is kind about the light and dark in all of the characters, including its fumbling mature-age leads.

Another good thing is the presence of (the late) James Gandolfini who shows how a leading man in a romance can still display charm and charisma even if he is, well, obese, careless about his appearance and clearly getting on. There’s also the issue of ear hair and a missing molar, but enough said. We find out more about his character Albert than we need to know. Perhaps it’s part of his charm that he’s not out to impress.

Albert, a curator in a cultural institution, has become used to life without a partner since he split from Marianne (Catherine Keener) some years ago. He’s fun to be with, a fount of knowledge about American popular culture and can peg the names and episodes of programs that were screening on TV decades ago with the exact time of day they were on air.

A spark of interest ignites between Albert and Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), another divorcee, when they meet at a party.  Perhaps it’s the prospect of soon becoming empty nesters that has made it possible for them to put out feelers. Both of them have college-age daughters who are about to leave home for the first time. After some awkward first moves, the scenes of Albert and Eva getting to know each other are especially touching and real. The scenes with Eva’s friend Sarah (Toni Collette) involving her imploding marriage and grating treatment of the maid, I found less charming.

The complicating factor to the unlikely romance is Eva’s new friendship with Marianne, a published poet and a woman of style who lives in an immaculate house—and is enviably free of cellulite. Eva, a masseuse, notices these things and is flattered by her new client’s need of friendship, but Marianne seems to need to offload negative memories about her former husband, some of them very petty criticism, especially the whinge about the way he eats guacamole. In a gotcha moment Eva finds herself caught in a pincer. Should she keep listening to Marianne go on and on about Albert or should she declare her hand, perhaps declare it to each of them?

Like all of Holofcener’s films,  Enough Said gives us a contemporary moral dilemma or two to chew on. It’s not as nuanced as others like Lovely & Amazing have been, but it has some sweet and delicate moments and lovely performances by Galdolfini and Louis-Dreyfus.

In a capsule: Some sweet, delicate moments in this mid-life romantic comedy and a moral dilemma or two to chew on. Also a touching farewell from James Gandolfini.

3.5 stars