Written and Directed by Nicole Holofcener
Nicole Holofcener is one of the strongest voices working in movies today. Her films, often about the lives of everyday women, are consistently sharp and observant; her new movie Enough Said does not stray from her already terrific track record. As a writer, she has a way of portraying her characters as people we know or someone we could know. There is an authenticity to the way she writes and directs her films that is sadly lacking in most of today’s movies and those who are willing to seek her films out will be thankful for the experience. Enough Said, debuting at TIFF 2013, will be far too familiar for some, but the film is equally hilarious and tender that it balances out to a really enjoyable experience.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as Eva, a masseuse who has been divorced from her husband for 10 years. She is good friends with Will and Sarah (Ben Falcone and Toni Collette), who take her with them to an elegant dinner party where she meets Albert (James Gandolfini). Albert and Eva let it be known that they are not attracted to anyone at the party, which proves to be untrue when a few days later, Albert asks Eva out on a date. Albert and Eva seem to hit it off. They find each other nice and funny, and there is never a lull in their first-date dinner conversation. Things get complicated when Eva discovers that Albert is the ex-husband of her new friend Marianne (Catherine Keener), who she met at the same party as Albert. Eva is torn if she should confess that she knows Marianne and Albert were once married and who should she confess to. What’s more, Eva is happier than she has been in a long time with Albert, with whom she has so much in common, including sending their respective daughters off to college for freshman year.
When things get tricky for Eva and Albert is where Holofcener succeeds through the script. Albert and Eva are three-dimensional characters who have issues they bring to the relationship and Holofcener does not shy away from bringing them forward. As the film progresses, there are some scenes that might be too uncomfortable for some viewers to watch because they feel so real and raw, but that is just a testament to the writer’s ability to script a romantic comedy about real people and not romantic comedy caricatures.
Enough Said may be the most familiar story Holofcener has written. There are very few surprises along the way, but the script is so wonderfully paced and fully realized that the movie is a delight from start to finish. Keener, Holofcener’s muse, takes a smaller role so that Louis-Dreyfus can shine in this film. Louis-Dreyfus, so great on television for years always playing straightforward comedy, is superb as Eva. As a comedic actress, she continues to demonstrate her flawless timing when delivering a line but Holofcener gives her a chance to flex a few dramatic muscles and Louis-Dreyfus does so without any problems. Gandolfini is known for his tough-guy and mobster roles; here he takes on his first leading romantic role and is believable from start to finish. His untimely passing earlier this summer makes Enough Said an altogether bittersweet film and proves that he was much more than his famed persona and we lost one of our most versatile actors. Overall, after writing and directing Walking and Talking, Lovely and Amazing, Friends with Money and Please Give, Holofcener adds Enough Said to a filmography that continues to set expectations high.
– Matthew Passantino
The Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 5th to 15th, 2013. For a complete schedule of films, screening times, and ticket information, please visit the official site.