Film Review: Empty Nesters Fall Hard In Like In 'Enough Said'
In Nicole Holofcener’s smart and engaging comedy Enough Said, two single parents on the verge of becoming empty nesters meet and fall hard in like. Wonderfully played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini, they’re captured in the foundling stage of a potential companionship and their efforts to make it work are infinitely pleasurable to watch.
Eva (Louis-Dreyfus) is a freelance masseuse who schleps around a table that’s almost bigger than her. Divorced several years, she splits custody of a daughter who’s about to leave home for college. At a party she attends at the behest of her best friends (Toni Collette and Ben Falcone), she meets two people who will soon enough impact her life: Marianne (Catherine Keener, Holofcener’s reliable go-to gal), a poet, and Albert (Gandolfini), a curator at a television history museum. When Eva befriends the former and begins dating the latter, what’s even more complicated than any new relationships is the fact that Marianne and Albert were once married.
At first, Eva’s not put off, exactly, by Albert’s unconventional looks and plus-size belly but she’s not quick to embrace it either. He’s not the ideal man she had thought of or even knew she was looking for. Still, his humor and good-heartedness wear her down. That’s not to dismiss the fact she has her flaws as well; she’s a bit needy, guarded and neurotic, yet not to the point that she’s toxic. The plus for both is that they’re sexually compatible, even though he’s worried that his heft might crush her in bed.
When Eva learns through subtle clues that Albert is indeed the ex-husband Marianne often trashes, Eva can’t leave well enough alone. Equating Marianne to “a human Trip Advisor,” she begins prying more than she should. She seems surprised by some of the details because Marianne’s unflattering and bitter assessment of Albert doesn’t match the Albert Eva knows, and when her ploy temporarily backfires, the encounter is true and painful.
Holofcener's script is nuanced and clever, and steeped in the way people really talk; there's hardly a false line. In funny, sometimes acerbic ways, the movie raises the question of whether we ever really know – or want to know – everything about the people who warm our hearts and beds.
Enough Said| Dir. Nicole Holofcener | 93 minutes | Playing at Fine Arts Theatres