“Enough Said” displays the late James Gandolfini in an unusually sweet, quiet role about a simple middle-aged man who is looking for companionship and comfort. It’s a side of Gandolfini we didn’t get to see enough of and, after you see “Enough Said”, you’ll understand just how sad that really is.
Gandolfini plays Albert, an overweight divorced father who works as a TV historian and seems to really enjoy the simple life. He meets Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) at a party, and the two bond over being divorced parents whose only children are about to go off to college.
Coincidently, Eva also unknowingly meets Albert’s ex-wife, Marianne (Catherine Keener), at the same party. A poet whose hobbies include trashing on her ex-husband endlessly, Marianne slowly poisons Eva’s perception of Albert, whose quirks quickly go from endearing to unbearable. At first Eva doesn’t make the connection, but once she puts the pieces together, she continues her relationship with both of them, for reasons even she can’t articulate.
There are also interesting subplots about Eva’s daughter, Ellen (Tracey Fairaway), and her best friend, Chloe (Tavi Gevinson), whom Eva is almost adopting as she mentally prepares for Ellen to leave for college, going so far as to encourage Chloe to lose her virginity.
The casting is absolutely perfect, right down to Ben Falcone and Toni Collette, who play Eva’s married friends who, while they are in love, also seem to struggle with maintaining their own happy relationship. The superb acting all around is what makes “Enough Said” work, but it is Gandolfini and Louis-Dreyfus who steal the show, thanks to a charming chemistry that drives home the realism.
This is one the most wonderfully real and mature romantic comedies I have ever seen, standing out amongst the over-sexualized, immature crap that sometimes dominates the genre. This is a romantic comedy for adults and, unless you’re looking for something sappy or sexy, there’s very little chance you won’t truly love these characters.
What writer/director Nicole Holofcener has accomplished is rather remarkable. She has created some wonderfully flawed people who laugh, love, and hurt each other, just like real humans tend to. The drama is grounded in real-life motivations, and none of the conflict feels unusual or outside something people may actually experience.
Holofcener has managed to avoid all of the trappings of mainstream Hollywood, delivering a film that works on the most basic level – you likely know people like this, and it’s very likely you share some of their flaws. The relationship between Eva and Albert doesn’t develop – it just falls into place, born from a desire to have genuine comfort, instead of being forced to play some superficial dating game.
“Enough Said” is not only one of the best films of the year, it’s one of the best romantic comedies I have ever seen. It drags a little towards to second half, but the bittersweet warmth that emanates throughout is enough to make this a must see movie for anyone with a heart.