Nicole Holofcener, director of 2013’s Enough Said, is one of mainstream cinema’s few veteran female directors. Once taught by Martin Scorsese, she has previously worked with Jennifer Aniston and John Cusack in her biggest hit (Friends with Money, 2006), as well as American actress Catherine Keener –one of her signature collaborators. Indeed Keener appears again in this film; a feel good summer movie.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (who is unnervingly good-looking for a 53 year old actress) gives a performance balanced between humour and tragedy as easy-going divorcee and single mum Eva, whose sole hobby, outside of her day job as a masseuse, is knitting. At a party she begins two relationships that shape – and eventually disrupt – her routine for the foreseeable future. One of these is with Keener’s character, Marianne, a self-professed poet who rarely appears to have anything more interesting to talk about than her ex-husband’s most annoying habits.
This relationship, which ultimately has a negative effect on Eva’s personal life, is contrasted by a sweet, blossoming romance shared with fellow divorcee Albert, whose carefree attitude and refreshing sense of humour helps lighten Eva’s disposition. Albert is notably played by James Gandolfini, a veteran American actor best known for his role as Tony Soprano in HBO’s The Sopranos (1999-2007) as well as notable film roles in True Romance and Get Shorty.
Albert represents one of Gandolfini’s last roles before his death in June 2013, and it is fitting that this should be so. His character brings a refreshingly heartfelt and, crucially, honest presence that runs through the films veins. He is rightly one of the faces of this movie alongside Dreyfus, matching her for energy and flair in the role.
Eventually these two separate relationships collide rather awkwardly, setting up a final third whereby Eva must deal with various plot threads that have been bubbling over during the course of the story. This being a naturally feel-good movie and following a course not unlike those of its ilk that you’ve seen before, one is always sure that its ending will follow suit, but what the film lacks in overall originality it makes up for in a well-written script and acting that can’t be faulted. A gentle, understated soundtrack from Brazilian pianist Marcelo Zarvos complements the experience well.
With a strong female cast that also includes Michaela Watkins and Australian actress Toni Collette, I get the feeling that male viewers won’t quite like it as much as their other halves, although there is something here for everyone to enjoy. Holofcener’s Enough Said is a film that does justice to its director; in an industry where consistent female talent is less abundant than it could be, this is something to be celebrated.
8 / 10