JULIA LOUIS DRYFUS JAMES GANDOLFINI TONI COLLETTE CATHERINE KEENER
Watching writer/director Nicole Holofcener’s work over the years as lead me to believe that she might be one of the best studies of human nature and behavior. Her organic characters always feel like she has spent large amounts of time with them, before adapting them onto the screen. Her films Please Give, Lovely & Amazing or Friends With Money give women a fully dimensional voice, but Enough Said is by far her most fulfilling and complete film yet. Holofcener writes the type of women that I assume females are proud of, admire and want to emulate. This beautifully encompassing script is so heartwarmingly funny and at the same time tugs on your heart strings, especially for the mothers.
Eva (Dryfus) wears those comfortable, earthy sandals and drives a Prius and lugs her massage table around to each of her clients, and is known to many as a terrific masseuse. Happily divorced, Eva admits to her best friend Sarah (Collette) at a social function that she is attracted to no one, which is agreed upon when Albert (Gandolfini) enters their conversation. Eva and Albert begin discussing their similarities: both divorced and have daughters about to go off to college; and then, they decide to see each other again. At the same party Eva acquires a new client, Marianne (Keener), who she later discovers is the ex-wife of Albert, putting her in quite the predicament.
Boners, fake boobs and marriages are just a couple of the topics that Holofcener casually discusses in the film, all the while proving to the audience that mature comedy doesn’t have to be vulgar or obscene. The conversations throughout the film are so good you never want them to stop; it’s like when you were a kid listening atop the steps at grown-ups having fascinating conversations. Holofcener really invites us into some wonderful characters as they live, make mistakes, love and have their hearts broken. Whether life just keeps feeding her better material the older she gets or what, Holofcener really hits a perfect home run with this one that should captivate nearly anyone and everyone.
The performances, led by the beautiful and under appreciated Dryfus, is worthy of applause. In a year that has the best actress race already so crowded Dryfus might not get more than a Golden Globe nomination, her performance is charming, refreshing and more honest than anything else I’ve seen this year. This is Dryfus’ first feature film since 1997’s Deconstructing Harry with Woody Allen. The late Gandolfini also gives one of the best performances of his career. Collette and Keener, who frequently appear in Holofcener’s work, are also wonderful side dishes.
Final Thought – The honesty and true understanding of everyday people, propels Enough Said atop the best films of the year.
Grade A By: Dustin Chase
Dr. Donna Copeland’s
Enough Said is so far the funniest movie this year, but one with substance, showing humans in all their flawed glory. Nicole Holofcener, the writer/director, is unparalleled in her keen observation of everyday people in relationships. Anyone who watches the film will continually have moments of recognizing themselves and others in different phases of life. Holofcener is incredible in her ability to bring in sub-texts that seamlessly involve daughters, maids, clients, and friends swirling around the main characters. Still, she is able to weave in her main point about how we actually deal with weaknesses in ourselves and in those around us, and how we could manage them a whole lot better. But we’re not usually walking around with that much insight, as she demonstrates so artfully.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Eva) and James Gandolfini (Albert) are expert in their characterizations of a couple of middle-aged divorcees trying to develop a new relationship just as their daughters are heading off to college. This is made all the more poignant by Gandolfini’s recent death from a heart attack post filming, especially since Albert’s weight is made the subject of many conversations. It is so refreshing to see him as an actor performing at his finest, and Louis-Dreyfus masterfully knitting herself into scenes with him. Their chemistry is truly impressive. As in Violet & Daisy, Gandolfini is more subdued here and easily assumes a completely different character.
Supporting roles played by Catherine Keener and Toni Collette in particular, contribute in their inimitable ways to the drama. Rounding out the excellent ensemble are Ben Falcone, Tracey Fairaway, Eve Hewson, Tavi Gevinson, and Anjelah Johnson. Music by Marcelo Zarvos and cinematography by Xavier Perez Grobel help make this an almost perfect production.