Movie Review | ‘Enough Said’ brings relatable warmth
Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 01:10
Although many successful movies are characterized by heavy drama, sometimes showcasing life’s simple, everyday interactions can make a film even more emotionally effective. “Enough Said,” written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, depicts the romantic and personal travails of a middle-aged woman in suburban California. While the plot initially may not appeal to the college-aged crowd, the movie perfectly captures the triumphs and difficulties of average relationships — a theme that viewers of all ages can enjoy.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as Eva, a flawed massage therapist. Louis-Dreyfus is incredibly adept at physical comedy, known most famously for her role as Elaine in “Seinfeld”(1989-1998). Through her body language and posture, Louis-Dreyfus makes Eva an open and relatable character — her facial expressions display every ounce of frustration and hope Eva feels. Holofcener takes full advantage of her lead’s skills by featuring close-up shots of Eva’s face during tense moments. In this way, the audience is able to gauge the effect of various events on Eva’s life and experience the story through her perspective.
James Gandolfini plays opposite Louis-Dreyfus as the film’s leading man. His brilliant performance as Albert is even more poignant in light of Gandolfini’s untimely death earlier this year. Although he is known for his playing the intense and violent Tony Soprano on “The Sopranos” (1999-2007), Gandolfini shows that he also had a knack for comedy. Unlike Eva, Albert is reserved — his emotions are visible only in his eyes. It is the contrast between the two that makes their love story incredibly beautiful and heartbreaking; one wears her heart on her sleeve but can never learn to trust, and the other appears guarded but often opens up too easily.
Eva’s romantic plight is almost too unbelievable — she begins to fall in love with her massage client’s ex-husband — but the natural humor of the two actors and the clever writing makes the viewer forget any logistical difficulties. The film is most touching not during its dramatic moments, but rather in its quiet representation of everyday life. Louis-Dreyfus shines when massaging a chatty client or watching her daughter leave for college, demonstrating that even these small interactions can be significant.
The film features intelligent performances from its supporting actresses as well. Toni Collette plays Eva’s therapist best friend Sarah, who is in need of professional help herself. Catharine Keener plays Albert’s high-maintenance poet ex-wife, Marianne. Each of the women hides behind a different mask at the beginning of the film: Eva is funny and likable, Sarah wise and Marianne aloof. But as the movie progresses, these facades begin to crumble. “Enough Said” is a commentary on the romantic lives of the middle-aged, but it also focuses on the stages of womanhood — specifically showing what women will do to convince themselves that they are in control of their lives. Each of these talented actresses delivers a moving portrayal of what it is like to enter a new stage in life.
This exploration of womanhood can especially be seen in the sweet and tender subplot between Eva and her daughter, Ellen (a lovely performance by Tracey Fairaway). As Ellen prepares to leave for college, Eva must learn to balance her new love life with her daughter’s upcoming departure. While this going-off-to-college scenario is not unprecedented in film, “Enough Said” offers viewers a more in-depth look at the experience from a mother’s point of view.
Ultimately, it is the film’s many layers that make it so enjoyable. Though “Enough Said” has the air of a frothy romantic comedy, the tone is deceptive. Dramatic without being overly self-conscious, “Enough Said” interprets conventional themes in hilarious ways to reveal deeper, underlying meanings.