It’s inevitable that the most notorious thing about Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said is that it features the late James Gandolfini in one of his last roles. I’m not quite sure how to feel about that. I can only say that he is great in it. It seems like people are turning out to see his last performance, and are hopefully being as surprised and captivated by the movie as I was When I was watching Enough Said I was so immersed in the story that it wasn’t until the end credits rolled that I realized the great loss cinema has suffered with Gandolfini’s passing. This performance is not only great because the actor was distancing himself from Tony Soprano and the roles he was usually cast in. An actor like him playing a romantic lead is something different and refreshing, but the level of pathos, charisma and raw feeling Gandolfini brings to the performance is brilliant. The promise of this beautiful performance will obviously go unfulfilled, but there’s no denying Enough Said is a great movie and a melancholic swan song for one of the greats.
Well, on to the movie itself. As I’ve already said, I really, really liked it. I was surprised because up until this point I hadn’t been a fan of writer/director Nicole Holofcener. Friends with Money and Please Give, the only two of her movies I had seen before, didn’t really do much for me. Enough Said, however, connected with me almost instantly. The main character in this movie is a divorced massage therapist named Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). She meets Albert (James Gandolfini) at a party. They bond over the fact that both their daughters are leaving for college and decide to go out. The movie is mostly the story of their relationship and Eva’s changing perception of it as she is influenced by a new friend played by Holofcener’s favorite actress Catherine Keener.
Holofcener has been previously criticized of making movies about “white people problems”. This is an accusation that bothers me very deeply. Yes, her characters are often upper middle-class, but their problems and dillemmas, specially in Enough Said are not only not exclusive to wealthy people, but poignantly relatable. This is not a Nancy Meyers movie, in which we should worry whether or not Meryl Streep will get to redecorate her kitchen. This are real characters with real feelings. And most importantly, Holofcener’s is an original voice with ideas worth listening to. Enough Said is by all intents and purposes a romantic comedy. It is, however, unlike any other American romantic comedy you’ll get to see this year. When will you get to see the love story about a middle-aged woman and an overweight man play out without irony? If there is any irreplaceable value to this movie, is its point of view. We don’t get enough movies written and directed by women. Especially women as smart as the ones involved in this movie. This is a smart movie. Made by adults for adults, but also one that can be enjoyed by everyone. I saw this movie with my family. My parents, my teenage sister and I were all thoroughly entertained and moved by the film.
The other true winners coming out of the movie, are the actors. I already said how great Gandolfini was, but it’s worth repeating. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is also nothing short of fantastic. And their chemistry together… Their scenes filled me with joy and energy, they made me happy to go to the movies. I guess I’m doing nothing but sing the praises of this movie. It’s certainly not perfect, there’s a major plot development that may seem a little too rom-comy to some (it didn’t bother me), but it’s a film worth seeing. A buck well spent. I can’t recommend it enough.