Faith & Film: Enough Said

“Enough Said” is a romantic comedy/drama in which Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), a divorced masseuse, meets Albert (James Gandolfini), a divorced librarian of classic television shows. Eva and Albert meet at a party. Even though they admit they’re not attracted to each other at first, they have enough in common (including raising daughters preparing to go away to college) that they agree to go on a date. They enter into a relationship cautiously, since both have been hurt before.

At the same party, Eva also meets Marianne, a poet. Marianne becomes a client of Eva’s. As Eva works with Marianne, they discover that they are raising teenage daughters. Eva and Marianne become friends and talk about poetry, children, and ex-husbands.

At first, “Enough Said” is pleasant enough, but nothing special. It is nice to see a movie about a relationship between two 40+ adults who don’t have “movie star” good looks.

A plot twist occurs about halfway through the movie. I won’t reveal the turn of events, but I will say that the twist threatens Eva and Albert’s relationship. Eventually, it causes Eva to reflect on all her relationships.

After the plot twist, there’s a wonderful scene in which Albert smiles sadly and says to Eva, “This may sound corny, but, you kinda broke my heart.” Gandolfini delivers this line perfectly; it’s neither to strong nor too soft. You can see the pain in this big but sensitive guy.

Gandolfini’s performance is the reason to see the movie. Most of us know his work as Tony, the mob boss, from the HBO series “The Sopranos.” His role as the shy Albert, who doesn’t always know how to express himself, shows a different side of Gandolfini. Gandolfini’s sudden death this summer at the age of 51 makes his performance all the more poignant. Who knew he’d be so good in a romantic comedy? Julia Louis-Dreyfus is also good as the insecure Eva.

The other interesting dimension of the movie is its analysis of Eva’s relationships. Eva is a lonely person. She becomes too close to Chloe, one of her daughter Ellen’s friends, as well as to her client Marianne. When constantly finding Eva engaged in Chloe’s life, Ellen tells her: “I want my Mom back!” When Eva tells Ellen that Chloe is needy, Ellen perceptively asks, “Who’s needy?”

“Enough Said” is being marketed as a comedy, but it isn’t very funny. Still, if you persevere through the rather slow first half, it gets better. Writer/director Nicole Holofcener’s screenplay is uneven, but perceptive regarding adult relationships.

During the end credits, there is a dedication to Jim. That’s appropriate. When I remember “Enough Said,” it will be for Gandolfini’s performance.

Tom Condon, OP