Enough Said
★★★☆☆

Enough Said is the fifth film from writer/director Nicole Holofcener (creator of insightful independent comedy/dramas like Walking and Talking and Please Give) and one of the final films from the late actor James Gandolfini (best known as the iconic lead in the HBO’s The Sopranos). The fact that this is one of Gandolfini’s last performances will no doubt bring more viewers to this picture than Holofcener usually draws. That pleases me because this filmmaker deserves a broader audience. Holofcener has made a modest career from subtly crafting stories around the small but very human struggles of fairly average, middle-aged people. Her films can be a bit on the esoteric side, but often contain a perceptive perspective on aspects of life that aren’t often explored in movies. Enough Said is her most conventional film to date, a romantic comedy about the courtship of two divorced people who each have a child about to leave home for collage.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as Eva, and Holofcener capitalizes on all the talents and attributes of this very gifted, multi Emmy winning actress who is still most well known for playing Elaine on Seinfeld. Louis-Dreyfus has made only a small handful of films and watching her effortlessly play the comedic, romantic and dramatic scenes in this picture makes us acutely aware of how much better so many rom-coms of the past two decades could have been were she not so busy starring in various TV projects. Louis-Dreyfus’s talent seemed to spring fully formed in 1982 when she first appeared as a cast member of Saturday Night Live and she has been elevating both strong and weak material ever since. Unlike so many surgically altered movies stars, she is an actress who has naturally grown more attractive the older she gets--cute as a button in the ‘80s and ‘90s but a real knock-out now. Holofcener provides plenty of opportunities to see her dressed up and looking sharp, but for most of this picture her camera accentuates Julia’s less glamorous, single-mom-next-door features, which serve both her and the film very well.

Gandolfini plays Albert, and he is dressed and photographed in a similar what-you-see-is-what-you-get way, with his prominent girth and balding hairline on full display. This unairbrushed approach has the result of making both characters feel genuine, human, and sexy. The charm of the two actors draws us to them just as their characters are beguiled by each other. The casual comfort of their early encounters feels so authentic that when the key comedic situation of the movie kicks in, it seems a little artificial. It is difficult to maintain the balance of rom and com in a movie as down-to-earth as this one. There are no big set pieces or wacky supporting roles to tip the film into farce, but the principle conflict that must be sustained to give the picture its narrative drive goes on longer than I think is credible in a film that isn’t a farce. As a result, some of the picture feels unsatisfying and unresolved. For example, Catherine Keener (star of all Holofcener’s other movies) plays a character that never feels like a three-dimensional person with a life outside of her scenes with Louis-Dreyfus. On the other hand, the young people in Eva and Albert’s lives (played by Tracey Fairaway, Tavi Gevinson, and Eve Hewson) are wonderfully written and performed. I almost wish the love story was woven around the parenting subplot, rather than wrapped up in the film’s central comedic conceit. Still, this is another small winner from Holofcener that I hope will bring her the recognition she deserves.
Directed by Nicole Holofcener
Produced by Anthony Bregman and Stefanie Azpiazu

Written by Nicole Holofcener

With: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Toni Collette, Catherine Keener, Ben Falcone, Toby Huss, Michaela Watkins, Eve Hewson, Anjelah Johnson, Amy Landecker, Christopher Nicholas Smith, Tracey Fairaway, Elizabeth Schmidt, and Tavi Gevinson

Cinematography: Xavier Pérez Grobet
Editing: Robert Frazen
Music: Marcelo Zarvos

Runtime: 93 min
Release Date: 18 October 2013
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Color