I watched ENOUGH SAID by director Nicole Holofcener with the knowledge that this was James Gandolfini’s last film…the credits at the end say FOR JIM casting a pall over this lighthearted love story between two divorced soon-to-be empty nesters and their unlikely union. Unfortunately I could not shake “real life” from intruding on the onscreen story. I was traveling from one world into another – make-believe vs. the tragic circumstances of June 19th, 2013 when we heard that this charismatic actor had suddenly died. I was annoyed with myself for being distracted by what I perceived as signs of impending doom within the movie.
Meandering between memory and the fictive romantic plot on the screen felt like nothing that I had experienced before. The mood of ENOUGH SAID had an intimacy, reinforced by the naturalness of dialogue that abetted this drifting frame of mind. I listened to Gandolfini’s labored breathing, and viewed the slow heaviness of his movements, part of his role as Albert - a sweet, decent man falling in love again after a bitter relationship with his ex-wife – all with the knowledge that this man’s imposing presence would soon be no more.
Julia Louis Dreyfus appears as Eva, a masseuse who goes to a party where she meets Albert, a man who against type, she is surprisingly attracted to. At the same event she also encounters a sophisticated and beautiful Catherine Keener as Marianne, a successful poet who becomes a client, friend, and confidante – continuously exhorting against her ex- husband - who unbeknownst to Eva is Albert. The plot gets circuitous, but suffice it to say Eva’s duplicity and lack of courage or conviction in her deepening relationship - despite an affinity that feels true and right - leads to heartbreak and remorse.
There are ancillary characters in ENOUGH SAID – a strong supporting ensemble of actors including Toni Collette and Ben Falcone, as well as Eva and Alfred’s adored daughters (Tracey Fairaway and Eve Hewson) who are leaving home for college to “brave” the world on their own - a plot catalyst revealing the neediness and anxiety of the protagonists. What makes this film more affecting than others with similar story lines is the honesty of the communication between two middle-aged individuals who are willing to “risk” another try at romance despite the bitterness of the past. The story is written with delicate affection towards the performers, and keen insights into our vulnerabilities when we let down our defenses and allow another individual to penetrate who we are. Trust not only in the other, but also oneself - that is the key.