Monday, October 07, 2013

Enough Said

Written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, Enough Said is the story of a divorced, single-mother masseuse who meets a divorced man unaware that he was once married to her new poet friend. The film is an exploration into the life of two middle-aged single parents who deal with the departure of their children as well as trying to form a relationship. Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Ben Falcone, and Toni Collette. Enough Said is a charming and witty film from Nicole Holofcener.

The film is about a middle-aged, divorced single-mother who meets a divorced man at a party where she also meets a new client for her masseuse business. After a date with this man that manages to go well, the two deal with the fact that they both have daughters who are going to college where they bond while the woman learns that her client is the man’s ex-wife as she tries to comprehend her new situation as she deals with her new friendship and romance as well as her daughter’s departure. In some ways, the situation that Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) puts herself in is a coincidence as she spends her time massaging and befriending Marianne (Catherine Keener) who constantly badmouths her ex-husband Albert (James Gandofini) about why their marriage didn’t work. Yet, Eva tries to see what is exactly wrong with Albert as she becomes aware of the flaws he has but finds herself falling for him because he is also someone who is funny and full of heart.

Nicole Holofcener’s screenplay does explore the idea of a woman dealing with not just the changes of her life but also trying to deal with the impending loneliness she’s facing when her daughter Ellen (Tracey Faraway) is leaving. Though Eva would temporarily fill that void through Ellen’s friend Chloe (Tavi Gevinson) who has issues with her mother (Amy Landecker). Eva turns to her friends Sarah (Toni Collette) and Will (Ben Falcone) for help as she starts going into this relationship with Albert. While Albert is admittedly a bit insecure and can deal with his flaws, Eva has a hard time dealing with Marianne’s harsh words towards Albert where Marianne has no clue that Eva is dating Albert nor Albert knows that Marianne is Eva’s client. It’s all part of an interesting plot schematic where the truth does get unveiled where Holofcener knows how to balance both humor and drama to make it play into Eva’s own conundrum in her life.

Holofcener’s direction is quite straightforward in the way she balances comedy and drama as she prefers to keep things low-key. Yet, she largely focuses on Eva’s story as a woman who is in this transition of her life as she works as a masseuse where she does have some annoying clients that appear again and again. Much of the framing is simple and to the point while Holofcener find ways to make the comedy be low-key and direct including gags that involves Sarah’s testy relationship with her maid Cathy (Anjeleh Johnson-Reyes) who is often accused of putting strange things in drawers. Even as the third act where the truth about what Eva means to both Albert and Marianne comes into play where it pays off while it also showcases the sense of emotion that Eva goes through over the mess that is happening in her life. Overall, Holofcener creates a delightful and exhilarating film about a woman dealing with the changes in her life.

Cinematographer Xavier Perez Grobet does excellent work with the film‘s very colorful cinematography to play to the lovely look of the Southern Californian daytime locations along with the scenes set at night. Editors Robert Frazen and Nick Moore do nice work with the editing to play up with the film‘s humor through rhythmic cuts as well as to create methodical cuts to play out a bit of suspense that occurs late in the film. Production designer Keith P. Cunningham, with set decorator Douglas A. Mowat and art director Luke Freeborn, does fantastic work with the homes of the characters as well as the places they go to.

Costume designer Leah Katznelson does amazing work with the costumes from the more casual clothes that Albert wears to the more stylish clothes that Marianne and the younger women wear. Sound editor Lora Hirschberg does terrific work with the sound to play up some cool moments such as Eva and Albert‘s first date where they have to hear music in a loud volume. The film’s music by Marcelo Zarvos is wonderful as it‘s mostly folk-based to play to the film‘s low-key humor and drama while music supervisor Liza Richardson brings in music of the similar kind with the exception of a loud dance track at Albert and Eva‘s first date.

The casting by Jeanne McCarthy is brilliant for the ensemble that is created as it includes notable appearances from Toby Huss as Eva’s ex-husband Peter, Kathleen Rose Perkins as Peter’s wife Fran, Amy Landecker as Chloe’s mother Debbie, Eve Hewson as Albert and Marianne’s college-bound daughter Tess who really thinks Eva is good for her dad, Anjeleh Johnson-Reyes as Sarah and Will’s maid Cathy, and as the trio of clients that Eva has, there’s Lennie Loftin, Jessica St. Clair, and Christopher Nicolas Smith as they’re all funny in their unique ways. Tavi Gevinson is terrific as Ellen’s friend Chloe who constantly crashes at Eva’s place in need of someone to talk to while Tracey Faraway is wonderful as Ellen who deals with going to college as well as trying to see how it would be by herself. Ben Falcone is excellent as Will who deals with Sarah’s obsession with her maid while Toni Collette is very funny as Sarah as Eva’s best friend who tries to help her with the many situations as well as her obsession with interior decorating.

Catherine Keener is amazing as Marianne as this revered poet who is going through a lonely period in her life as she and Eva becomes friends where Keener adds a lot of humor to her rants about Albert. Finally, there’s the performances of Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandofini in their respective roles as Eva and Albert where both of them are remarkable in the way they react to each other as well as the comic time they have together. Louis-Dreyfus maintains that sense of naturalism in her comedy by doing so little in the way she reacts to things while proving herself to be very solid in the dramatic front. Yet, it’s Gandofini in one of his final performances that is the revelation where has this amazing sensitivity to his character that accepts his flaws while being someone who is quite lonely where he and Louis-Dreyfus add some weight into the situations they’re in as Gandofini is in top form with great help from Louis-Dreyfus.

Enough Said is a marvelous film from Nicole Holofcener thanks in part to the powerhouse performances of Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini. The film is definitely one of Holofcener’s most engaging films as well as one of her funniest in the way she explores the anxieties of adults dealing with loneliness and changes. Especially as she is able to capture James Gandolfini in one of his great performances as it’s obvious how much he will be missed. In the end, Enough Said is an extraordinary film from Nicole Holofcener.

Nicole Holofcener Films: Walking & Talking - Lovely & Amazing - Friends with Money - Please Give - The Auteurs #22: Nicole Holofcener

© thevoid99 2013


Anonymous said...

I'll be seeing this Wednesday. I can't wait.

Chris said...

Happy you enjoyed it! I'm a fan of her work too, I feel Holofcener makes movies because she has something to say.
It seems Catherine Keener delivers great performances in all of Holofcener's movies, though from what I'm getting from your review, Gandofini outshines her this time.

thevoid99 said...

@Fisti-Hope you enjoy the film.

@Chris-That's what I like about Holofcener's films as she is someone who always find something to say for women. Keener is in a supporting performance where she's really good as she lets Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini play the leads as it's no surprise how good Gandolfini is. Yet, it's also very sad that he's gone.

Lights Camera Reaction said...

Excellent review. I saw the trailer for this before Blue Jasmine and I thought it looked good.
I'm a big fan of the cast.

How would you rank the cast?

thevoid99 said...

@Lights Cameras Reactions-I don't really do ranking on the cast as I think they're all really good. Especially Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini as they are the best thing in the film.