Middle-aged romance: comfortable and sexy.
Review (with Spoilers)
In one of James Gandolfini’s last films we are treated to a, mostly, adult romance film. Which feels sort of rare since usually, most romance stories star 20 something-year-olds, sometimes teens and kids as well. But, with the combination of Gandolfini, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Toni Collette and Catherine Keener trying to explore the complexity of new romance, being divorced with children and the issue which comes from combining the two things, perhaps things may change?
Characters & Story
Enough Said focuses on Eva (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who is a masseuse who has been divorced for 4 some odd years and is now trying to mentally prep for her daughter Ellen (played by Tracey Fairaway) to leave the nest for college across the country. So, outside of getting a hobby, she has decided to go out with her best friend Sarah (played by Toni Collette) and her husband Will (played by Ben Falcone) to a social gathering and what she gets out of this is a new friend/ client in Marianna (played by Catherine Keener) and a love interest in Albert (played by James Gandolfini).
Now, though first unbeknownst to her, time reveals her new friend/ client is the ex-wife of Albert and during her massaging sessions, which become general friendly chat, Marianne reveals a lot of Albert’s bad traits, which at first Eva doesn’t notice because, seemingly, Albert is the first man she has really been attracted to since her ex. However, you see Marianne words poison their relationship as time goes on. Meanwhile Sarah goes through battles with her own husband, of which you constantly think divorce is pending, and while Ellen preps for leaving the nest, as does Albert and Marianne’s daughter Tess (played by Eve Hewson), you see both parents, and children, struggling with all of their interpersonal relationships/ communication.
What I loved most about the film is that up until the end, you can easily see this movie being stretched out into an HBO series, or mini-series, for it really does come off that good. To start, Gandolfini and Louis-Dreyfus have great chemistry in their scenes, and though their romance sort of blossoms quickly, you get quite comfortable seeing them together and watching their awkward, at first, conversations. Also, what I liked was that they didn’t treat the film like they would a film with 20 something-year-olds. Their romance wasn’t all consuming, but simply a joyous part of their life which still required them to work, take care of their kids and handle other personal matters like their friends.
Leading me to also speak on the people outside of Gandolfini and Louis-Dreyfus who are really the ones who push the idea of a series out there. While watching Collette, actually speaking in her natural accent it seems, with on-screen husband played by Ben Falcone, you see a story within itself, and then when you add the kids of Gandolfini and Louis-Dreyfus, especially Ellen’s friend Chloe (played by Tavi Gevinson) there continues to be more and more people in the film who seem filled with a story to tell, but only end up supporting characters.
Like with 90% of romance films, the film employs that usual pattern where the romance starts strong, tapers and then someone does something stupid or has this secret, which wreaks the relationship. In this case, it is the fact Eva knows both Marianne and Albert which is the hammer which crushes Eva and Albert’s relationship. And though you understand, to a point, Albert’s reaction in discovering his girlfriend is getting dirt on him from his ex-wife, at the same time it is unfortunate the film decided to follow the usual pattern and didn’t stick to remaining different from the rest of the romance films out there.
Truth be told, outside of The Sopranos I am not too familiar with James Gandolfini’s work, but with this movie, it does tempt me to look into his filmography. In many ways, he looks like a sweet, jolly, giant who has his own charm which compensates for him not having the traditional look of a male love interest. And considering this was one of his last films, of which has a very good cast, and story, that is why I am saying this is a rental. It is cute, may make you tear a little bit, and contains a few scattered laughs. Something definitely worthy of taking up your free time in my opinion.