James Gandolfini’s sudden death earlier this year was a tragic moment as the man, best known for his portrayal of Tony Soprano, appeared to bow out before ever really getting to make his mark on mainstream Hollywood. This has obviously led to his final performances receiving a lot more attention than they may have done otherwise and the first of his final two films comes in the shape of Enough Said, a romantic comedy written and directed by Nicole Holofcener.
The film follows Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) a single mother who is getting ready to send her daughter off to college for the first time and struggling with her day to day job as a masseuse. Meanwhile, after meeting them at a party she is starting a new friendship with Marianne and a new relationship with Albert, both of whom spend a lot of time speaking negatively about their former spouse. The big twist being that they were in fact married too each other and are unaware of their shared connection in Eva. It’s a simple premise that could easily fall off the rails and become another boring, stereotypical RomCom. However, a nicely written realist script means that you don’t grow to hate these people who, despite working seemingly low paid jobs, all have fantastic houses with large gardens and so on.
The reason you don’t grow to hate these people is because this is genuinely filled with some very good performances. It can be easy to overly praise posthumous releases but Gandolfini is fantastic here as the emotionally cut off, bashful and ultimately incredibly lovable Albert as he makes you pity him in a way that never crosses over into feeling forced or like emotional blackmail. Meanwhile Dreyfous’s performance of the slowly going off the rails, incredibly middle aged Eva sits nicely in contrast to Keener’s Marrianne who is brilliantly annoyingly as the pompous poet who just calmly drops in the fact she is good friends with Joni Mitchell. Gandolfini and Dreyfous also appear to just click on-screen as an incredibly middle aged couple who are looking to slow down in life and enjoy their later years in comfort and happiness, but due to previous relationships are unable to really open up to each other.
Enough Said is yet another sweet RomCom that it’s hard not to enjoy. All of these characters feel like they are real people and while the central twist in the story is very contrived and completely unrealistic it is well enough written and acted that you never feel too annoyed with it.