When middle-aged divorcee Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is stuck in the soul crushing slog of her hands-on day job she decides that it is time to get back on the dating horse. While third-wheeling at a party with friends Sarah (Toni Collette) and Will (Ben Falcone) she meets a potential match in laconic witty Albert (James Gandolfini) and a new client in the bohemian poet Marianne (Catherine Keener).
Holofcener's directorial style shines through in her construction of the spaces that each of the characters inhabit. Marianne's (Keener) home looked like it was pulled from some kind of In Style magazine and when she and Eva (Louis-Dreyfus) are out together it has to be walking along the picturesque Californian coast. While Albert's (Gandolfini) home looks half furnished, like the home of a younger man. His workspace too as curator of the National Television archive is a colourless, drab office space (Tony Soprano is the best person to take care of television after all). Finally Will (Falcone) and Sarah's (Collette) home is a mess for, unlike the clinical perfection of Sarah's psychiatrists office.
While Enough Said is a 'romantic dram-edy' mash up the coming of middle age moments. When Eva and her ex husband have to watch their daughter leaving to go to the airport Louis-Dreyfus makes it devastating. Perhaps the audience is meant to have the upper hand on the protagonist but in this instance I felt as her inaction or inability to be assertive dragged on for far too long. Although I'm sure it was Holofcener's intention to watch Eva flounder every minute that she doesn't follow her instincts, it takes a toll.
Louis-Dreyfus is a tremendous comedic performer. Her delivery is surgeon like, her gestural reactions to compliment the players she's working with to elevate everyone in the piece. Instead of her usually brash 'foot in mouth' we're used to seeing, Eva is shackled by her insecurity. Louis-Dreyfus had a nine year apprenticeship alongside some of the most neurotic comedic characters ever conceived (Seinfeld) so it's no surprise that she absolutely nails the role. However, it's the deep existential and dramatic moments that really bring the characters to life.
The final role from the great James Gandolfini, he shows off his understated brilliance. While his physical presence is imposing, his character Albert is just a cuddly teddy bear. He's a pragmatic witty guy, with a subtle sarcastic humour. He's the perfect middle aged leading every man. He doesn't have time for games and nonsense.
Happiness and companionship is precious as your journey is closer to its end than the beginning. Holofcener's Enough Said is old enough to dismiss bullshit like dwelling on the past.
Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman and listen to the audio review on That Movie Show 2UE here or on top-rating film podcast Pod Save Our Screen, available now on iTunes.
Directed by: Nicole Holofcener Written by: Nicole Holofcener Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Tracey Fairaway, Toni Collette, Catherine Keener, Michaela Watkins, Ben Falcone
Blake Howard is a writer, a podcaster, the editor-in-chief & co-founder of Australian film blog Graffiti With Punctuation. Beginning his criticism APPRENTICESHIP as co-host of That Movie Show 2UE, Blake is now a member of the prestigious Online Film Critic Society, sways the Tomato Meter with Rotten Tomatoes approved reviews. See his articulated words and shrieks (mostly) here at Graffitiwithpunctuation.com and with DarkHorizons.com & 2SER Sydney weekly on Gaggle of Geeks.