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Enough Said (2013)

Review by-Jarrett Leahy

Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Eva, a skilled masseuse and divorced mother with a teenage daughter about to go off to college.  While attending a cocktail party with her best friend Sarah (Toni Collette), Eva is introduced to Marianne (Catherine Keener), an acclaimed poet who expresses interest in becoming a new massage client.  At this same party, Eva also has a chance encounter with Albert (James Galdolfini), a stout and uniquely charismatic divorcee.  The next day Eva is surprised to learn that Albert had asked for Eva’s phone number, for each had glibly mentioned not being attracted to anyone at the party. A relationship flourishes as the two begin dating.  However, unforeseen entanglements arise when Eva discovers that her Albert is in fact the ex-husband of Marianne, who, clueless of the situation, has been venting a barrage of disparaging remarks about him.

Thoughtful and playfully winsome, Enough Said offers sharp and astute observations about fears and experiences that middle-aged adults encounter including unhealed emotional scars brought on by divorce, apprehensions that arise from dating again, and empty nest anxieties caused by children leaving home for the first time.  Refreshingly, these topics aren’t used to simply pander or placate the audience but instead create a genuine connection with the viewer.

James Galdolfini’s delicate portrayal of Albert was eye-opening.  For so long he has been synonymous with his legendary tough guy persona. In Enough Said, Gandolfini instead demonstrates a heartfelt vulnerability and sweetness. I was pleasantly amazed that the man who played Tony Soprano could wow me with his ability to portray a man who is tender, exposed, and dare I say even a bit sensitive without compromising that inner Gandolfini swagger. As much as I tried to, it was hard to ignore the knowledge that this was one of his final performances. Admittedly I found myself more closely examining him on screen, as if trying to find some sort of subliminal warning sign of the tragedy to come.  This scrutiny in turn allowed me to pick up on the subtle expressions he so skillfully used to convey such a wide range of emotions.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who shines yet again in Enough Said, is so talented a comedienne that sometimes she is almost taken for granted. Lovable and still alluringly attractive, Dreyfus’ portrayal anchors the film, adding a mature and sophisticated level of humor. Never does she dominate the scenes she’s in. Instead, Enough Said is yet another example of how Dreyfus has that rare ability to make everyone around her that much better on screen.  Together, I absolutely loved what Gandolfini and Dreyfus were able to create– an honest and charming couple you unabashedly root for.  Their affectionate interactions never felt forced or contrived; they adeptly captured that awkward excitability and silent fixated gaze that new couple shares.

I mustn’t forget to mention and praise two other wonderfully accomplished actresses, Catherine Keener and Toni Collette, who both offered exquisitely amusing supporting performances. Keener fearlessly embodied the hoity toity poet and bitter ex-wife to perfection, and it was such a pleasant surprise to hear Collette actually get to perform a role using her delicious native Australian accent.

Through its richly rewarding story, skillful actors, and abundance of subtle adult humor, Enough Said is a mature and calmly confident film that never sacrificed long term enjoyment for the few cheap laughs that come from your typical rom-com cliches.  I truly wish Hollywood would offer more films of this adept caliber. After my thorough enjoyment, I must say I look forward to seeing what else director Nicole Holofcener has in store for us on future projects.-JL

Grade: B+


Edited by-Michelle Zenor

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