“Enough Said” Movie Review

     Director Nicole Holofcener's "Enough Said" is one of the last films the late James Gandolfini completed before his untimely death earlier this year.  Aside from the obvious tragedy of the situation, "Enough Said" marks the first time the actor was able to successfully shed his "Tony Soprano" persona and channel his trademark mannerisms and acting style into a completely different character.  This may have been the start of us seeing a different side of Gandolfini, but sadly we'll never know.  After watching "Enough Said", which is an outstanding film, I realized just how good of an actor Gandolfini was as his ability to play a humble character with many of the same faults all of us have shines through and is perfectly complimented by his equally wonderful co star Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

     I must confess I have never watched an episode of "Seinfeld", thus my thoughts on Louis-Dreyfus were minimal going into this film.  A common aspect of "Enough Said" that I noticed is the cast's ability to portray characters who are not only believable, but ones we can also relate to.  Holofcener's (a “Sex and the City” vet) superb writing and directing certainly has plenty to do with this, but the chemistry between the actors is a key aspect to the film 's overall success.  As the anchor and central character, Eva (Louis-Dreyfus) is so likable, and yet so quirky, it seems to be infectious with everyone she shares the screen with.   No doubt Ganolfini benefited from this the most, but even veteran actresses like Catherine Keener and Toni Collette are able to give outstanding performances in supporting roles that make every scene in the film a pleasure to watch.  There may be nothing better in film than an excellent script working in perfect harmony with an exceptional cast and "Enough Said" is a shining example of these all important elements at work.

     Those of us in the general age group of the cast who have also experienced a divorce will find themselves with quite a bit in common with these characters.  One thing we know in life is if you want to know something about someone, the last person you should be asking is their ex.  I mean, seriously.  What kind of information do you really think your going to get?  Eva is a middle aged divorced mother of one, whose daughter is about to leave for college.  She works as a masseuse who lugs a massage table from client's house to client's house, constantly enduring the standard pitfalls that come with that line of  work, though she clearly enjoys her job.

     Eva attends a party with friends and is introduced to Marianne (Keener), who  becomes a new client and later, a friend.  At the same party, Eva is also introduced to Albert (Gandolfini) and her friend later informs her of Albert's potential interest.  When the two go out on a date, they find they are in very similar places in life with both having a daughter going away to college.  With both facing an empty nest, it's clear each is very interested in the prospects of knowing each other better and as evidenced on screen, the couple really hits it off.  That is until the ex becomes involved, inadvertently.

     It doesn't take long through conversation with Marianne for Eva to realize Albert is Marianne's ex husband.  Suddenly, Eva finds herself in a difficult situation.  Marianne doesn't know she is dating Albert and Albert doesn't know Marianne is Eva's client and new found friend.  It doesn't help matters when Marianne's favorite topic of conversation happens to be everything her ex did that "repulsed" her.  Unfortunately for all involved, Eva doesn't make the right decision, choosing instead to use the knowledge from Marianne as a proverbial "Trip Advisor" as she puts it in one scene and bombarding Albert with the inside info in an attempt to pre address his shortcomings.

     Holofcener doesn't use this plotting to set up any predictable comic payoff, rather her characters simply deal with the situation in ways you would believe any person would.  There are truly awkward moments in which you know as an audience member you wouldn't want to be in these characters shoes, and yet the characters simply move on rather than dwell on their misfortune.  In other words, they are very adult about it.  Is Holfcener’s film Oscar worthy?  It should be.  Some of the very best films are about how ordinary people deal with life’s everyday obstacles and "Enough Said" explores the complicated issues involved with divorce, dealing with the kids involved, and moving on to somehow create a life in the aftermath of what is always a complete mess.  Both Eva and Albert deal with their ex's in different ways throughout the story, but each has a significant impact on the way they are living their lives.  Even the initial conversations during their first date involves questions about how and why their first marriages didn't work out.  These scenes make one thing abundantly clear about post divorce relationships, say what you will, but the ex never goes away.  GRADE: A