“Enough Said has a lot to say, without getting on a soap box, about how we can harm other people’s trust by not being honest with them and ourselves but manages to do it with a very wry smile.”
running time: 93min
writer / director: Nicole Holofcener
select cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Toni Collette, Catherine Keener, Ben Falcone, Michaela Watkins, Tracey Fairaway, Tavi Gevinson,
Review (text version)
I can so relate to that! Ever thought that three or four times during a movie?
Not even while watching Harry Potter or Hunger Games?
Just once in a while someone makes a movie featuring characters that us still young at heart, but well over 45 types, can actually identify with – career going nowhere, single parent, problematic late teen offspring, a budding sorta-maybe might this happen relationship taking a peek out from behind two years of involuntary celibacy (that’s admitting to two years but we all know it’s really three) and telling little white lies (or withholding information) that leads to digging holes waaaaay too deep resulting in mix of sad and exasperated looks on the faces of our nearest and dearest when they realize we’ve acted in a totally emotionally retarded, self centred ass hole manner followed closely but an epic dose of guilt and personal questioning along the lines of, “How did I manage to jettison every spec of my accumulated common sense and life experience to end up in this puddle of poo?” and, “is it too late to explore the benefits of anti anxiety pills?”
‘Enough Said’ is a lot like that… with massage oil!
The on screen romantic pairing of Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini may not initially seem like a pitch idea that would woo a major Hollywood studio into opening its bank vault to finance the effort – which is probably why this was made as a $2 million indi – but take that idea — the relationship between the two —- and then don’t do a movie about the relationship working but instead all the neurosis that generate those “shoot yourself in the foot” self sabotaging moments that will most certainly STOP a relationship from developing. Now that’s a movie I want to see!
Julia plays Eva, a 40 something single Mum in suburban Los Angeles, trying to make a go of being independently employed as an, “I do house calls” massage therapist – nothing kinky, strictly legit.
At a party one evening she meets Albert played by Gandolfini, and while there’s no real attraction, and she’s up front about that, she does agree to go out with him – well, it’s been a while and he’s offering so why not?
In parallel Eva has a new massage client, a published poet (I’m impressed, how many have you ever met?) called Marianne played by Catherine Keener and they sort of become each other’s best new besties.
Meanwhile best old bestie, played by Toni Collette, is having trouble on the domestic front finding a maid who can handle the kids and Toni’s expectations of the appropriate arrangement of contents in the kitchen drawers. She has some OCD issues.
Eva’s teenage daughter is going through ‘pre separation’ separation anxiety from Mother as she prepares to go to College and Eva appears to be grooming the daughter’s friend as second banana in some sort of idealized Mother / Daughter show that clearly did not play out too well by the original cast over the previous 17 years.
Yes, it’s a truck load of first world relationship problems but to our poor characters, who at times seem about as much emotional maturity as someone in their early 20‘s blunder along through their self created disasters, tripping over the only realities they know… Particularly Eva.
You might be wondering, “do people in the 40s and 50s really behave like that?” and you know what, maybe not many of them, I hope, but it’s a movie and it’s not trying to be a documentary but instead an entertaining flirt with our (audience) desires, passions and foibles and while it isn’t a “laugh out loud” and “guffaw-guffaw” type comedy, oh my, was I ever smiling widely all the way.
Julia Lewis Dreyfus, significantly more restrained than we have seen her in Seinfeld and Veep, manages pulls off a great blend of pathos and humour. Her scenes with Toni Colette – in a rare incarnation playing an Aussie in an American film – are insightful and appealing.
Gandolfini is also playing a log way removed from Tony Soprano. He’s a good natured, trying hard to get-it-together, but ultimately lost puppy kind of character with domestic dyslexia but a warm heart – just the kind of guy a woman wants to go out with, share a good time, and then treat him like a second class human being.
Enough Said has a lot to say, without getting on a soap box, about how we can harm other people’s trust by not being honest with them and ourselves but manages to do it with a very wry smile.
This is a really charming little NON romantic comedy and a great discussion starter – try it as a character test on maybe a second or third date… with anyone new in your life you might be thinking of seeing a little more often in a maybe sorta- romantic, let’s see where things might lead kinda way.
Here be lessons… And good fun!
© 2015 Greg Punch
Fox Searchlight Pictures
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Interesting review by Peter Bradshaw for The Guardian:
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