Romance in the middle-ages

Review Romance comedy


Duration: 93 minutes

Rating: 3.5/5

The story: Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a single mum who works as a house-call masseuse. She meets divorced father Albert (James Gandolfini) at a party and they begin dating. At the same party, she also meets Marianne, a new client who becomes a friend. Things get a little complicated when Eva realises that Marianne (Catherine Keener) is Albert's ex-wife.

James Gandolfini will forever be associated with the acclaimed crime drama The Sopranos (1999-2007). His turn as the self-doubting and therapy-seeking mob boss Tony Soprano earned him three Emmy statuettes and paved the way for anti-heroes down the road such as Breaking Bad's Walter White.

Sadly, he died from a heart attack at the age of 51 in June.

Beyond the Mafia series, his range of roles run the gamut from a gay hitman in The Mexican (2001) to an impulsive Wild Thing in the fantasy Where The Wild Things Are (2009).

One of his last films is this sweet and lovely romance which casts him in a very different light and adds to his rich body of work.

He smiles a lot here as Albert and his eyes crinkle and disappear charmingly but it is not exactly attraction at first sight for Eva. In fact, her early description of him to close friend Sarah (Toni Collette) is: "He's kinda fat."

Rather than a romantic comedy which dumbs itself down with cliched set-ups and forced repartee, Enough Said feels like an honest exploration of what happens when two adults are tentatively attracted to each other and try to sort out their feelings.

There is awkwardness here - do they kiss or not after the first date - as well as tenderness. There is a scene in which they peer into each other's mouths that feels more intimate than most movie sex scenes.

Gandolfini's wonderfully low-key and sunny performance is well-matched by Julia Louis- Dreyfus. Best known for her television work on comedies such as Seinfeld (1989-1998) and Veep (2012 to present), she dials down her comic exuberance for a more nuanced performance that remains very funny.

Eva is all too believably human and flawed. While she means well, she is not the most sensitive person when it comes to respecting boundaries. And so, she dishes out sex advice to her teenage daughter's friend, makes fun of Albert for his inability to whisper (an admittedly odd trait) and, worst of all, she ends up befriending his ex and hiding it from him.

Writer-director Nicole Holofcener has worked on TV for shows such as comedy Parks And Recreation as well as films such as Lovely & Amazing (2001), an observant drama about female relationships.

Apart from finding the humour and stresses in a burgeoning relationship, she also captures the poignancy and scariness of looking for love at a certain stage in life. And she does not shy away from the difficult things people say to each other.

When Albert tells Eva, "You broke my heart and I'm too old for that s***," his hurt is real and palpable.

A great cast, a sensitive script and an abundance of heart - enough said.

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