Enough Said: Gandolfini's Final Role

A good cast, headed by James Gandolfini in his very last role, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, elevates Enough Said, Nicole Holofcener’s latest romantic comedy, way above its TV sitcom nature.

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The independent-minded Holofcener has always been a sharper writer than director (in a way she is the opposite of Sofia Coppola), and though she had made half a dozen films, there is not progress in her technical faculties, as far as visual style is concerned.

Enough Said is a mildly entertaining, sporadically poignant dramedy about characters seldom seen on the big screen anymore, and they are cast with actors that seldom play leads in mainstream Hollywood.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus (better known for her TV work) plays divorced mother, who at middle age finds herself with plenty of time on her hands. With her only child about to go off to college, she anticipates an emotional void and solitary existence. But that is before she meets Albert (James Gandolfini), also facing a crisis of his own. The two go out and soon become romantically involved.

If the movie was just about this couple, it would not have been worthy of our attention. Adding considerably to the proceedings is Catherine Keener, a regular presence in Holofcener’s features, who complicates matters in the positive sense of the word, adding shading and color to the text.

The always reliable Keener plays Marianne, a gifted poet who initially inspires envy and admiration. However, upon getting closer with Eva, Marianne confides in her the problems with her former husband. In short order, Eva becomes her confidante.

In a contrived, movieish turn of the plot, it turns out that Albert is Marianne’s ex-husband, which creates anticipated conflicts and even panic in Eva. At first, Eva keeps the new facts to herself, but gradually, she begins to doubt her own perception and feeling towards Albert.

The aptly titled Enough Said is a logical follow-up to Holofcener’s previous wryly funny, sharply observant features, most of which deal with mature female characters and/or complex female friendships.

As noted, the scale of the movie is modest and its visual properties understated, Indeed, you can easily see Enough Said done as a stage production. In other words, Holofcener doesn’t benefit much from being a filmmaker.

Consider Enough Said as yet another panel in a growing body of work about the changing landscape of our modern urban life. It’s also a nice (unintentional tribute) to the late, enormously gifted Gandolfini, who renders a gentle, grounded, irresistibly appealing performance.