“I know it’s corny, but you broke my heart… And I’m too old for that shit.”
Enough Said has a pretty clever pace about itself. The film starts out flirtatiously, with Albert (James Gandolfini) and Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) meeting at a party, where they bond over how their daughters are both leaving for college in the fall. It’s a nice meet-cute, and it’s the pair’s chemistry and ease with one another that lifts up what would otherwise be a pretty contrived plot where Eva unknowingly becomes friends with Albert’s ex-wife, a woman who loves to bemoan his faults – something that creates uncertainty, awkwardness, and a whole lot of questions in what was once a simple and sweet relationship.
This is a film that doesn’t belittle adult relationships. In fact, director Nicole Holofcener’s leads seem almost ageless. Eva and Albert aren’t the stereotypical bitter divorcees (except in the presence of their exes) but are instead sweet and almost youthful in their actions towards each other. Credit has to be given to both of the actors, and to the base material: the script itself, which is full of offbeat jokes that Louis-Dreyfus naturally makes the best of. (What is surprising, is how well Gandolfini also carries them.)
Romantic comedies are rarely critical successes, but it’s always so pleasantly surprising when one works this well. The leads feel fresh and likeable, the script is actually funny, and beyond the romance, other people and other aspects of Eva and Albert’s lives do in fact exist. (Tavi Gevinson – of Rookie fame and general fabulousness – being one of these, in her role as Eva’s sort-of surrogate daughter.)
Enough Said is that rare thing, a romantic comedy that goes beyond its clichéd plot. Cliches are just that – cliches – because most of the time, they’re actually pretty damn on point. It’s what films and television shows then do with these situations and characters, that makes or breaks a piece of art. And Enough Said makes the grade, because besides the main plot, nothing else is stereotypical about this film. Eva and Albert aren’t the perfect Hollywood leading pair. They aren’t young people with two-dimensional pain that only love can cure. Instead, they’re two adults who have a connection due to their corresponding sense of humor, and shared experiences. The film is sweet, without being saccharine, and it creates something real from the bones that all romantic comedies, when you strip them down, share.
I can’t leave this review without, of course, mentioning Gandolfini’s death. His departure means that this film will never (at least not for the foreseeable future, anyway) be looked at as just another rom-com. Instead it’s a bittersweet tragedy, a stagnated start to ‘what could have been’.
But instead, I think Enough Said should be looked at as a success. Let’s not let death overshadow art. Perhaps it’s inevitable, despite my wish otherwise, but I think that we’re lucky to have seen Gandolfini in this light at all. A surprisingly sweet, funny, and moving light, indeed.
Enough Said doesn’t let its characters settle into melancholy or bittersweetness, and so I’m loathe to let the same happen to this review. Gandolfini’s death was and is a tragedy, but Enough Said really, truly isn’t.
- Starring: James Gandolfini, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
- Directed by: Nicole Holofcener
- Running Time: 93 minutes
- Genre: Romance, Comedy