Enough Said (Fox Searchlight Pictures, PG-13)

enough-said evaWith or without a date, you’ll enjoy spending time with these people.

 

 

enough said lg

“A romantic comedy for adults.” That’s how Enough Said is being billed, and it’s not wrong. What this catchphrase leaves out, though, is that it’s also a psychological study of how we change as we get older: we question not only who we are, but who we are with, who we used to be with, who we can no longer be with—and why. It’s a confusing time to be sure, made more complicated by the fact that it gets harder to make friends, real friends, and thus have somebody to talk to, to walk us through crises real or imagined. It’s also a time riddled with loss, as kids embrace their independence and leave for college, leaving bedrooms empty and houses quiet.

Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is experiencing all of this. Her ex-husband—largely absent throughout the film—confuses her: What did she ever see in him anyway? In one poignant scene, Eva is looking through her wedding album, trying to find a sign that she knew then how incompatible the two would be. Eva’s daughter, Ellen (Tracey Fairaway), is about to fly across the country to attend Sarah Lawrence College, an absence Eva feels deeply, as evidenced by the time she spends in her daughter’s room, watching her sleep or taking in the furnishings that will soon be absent. Ellen’s friend Chloe has begun spending lots of time at Eva’s house, to the dismay of Ellen, who feels she is being replaced—especially when she learns her mom has offered Chloe Ellen’s room after she leaves for school.

Luckily, Ellen has a dependable best friend in Sarah (Toni Collette), who is not-so-happily married to the humorously dry Will (Ben Falcone—yes, that’s Mr. Melissa McCarthy to you), who acts as confidant, counselor (a role she holds professionally), and family. It is through Sarah and Will that Eva meets Albert (James Gandolfini) and Marianne (Catherine Keener), both of whom are destined to play large roles in Eva’s life—just how large we are about to find out.

Albert is a bear of a man. When he asks out Eva, she accepts—he’s funny, sweet, and genuine—although she doesn’t know if she’s attracted to him. Luckily, she answers that question soon, and thus begins a tentative, yet relaxed courtship that anyone could envy. Although she is obviously happy with him, as Eva begins to learn more about his failings, she questions their compatibility, as well as his worth as a partner. This being a movie, we know she is bound to screw things up, and she does not disappoint. Thus, the real loneliness sets in, as Eva knows she has no one to blame but herself.

Still, the move remains sweet, even as we berate Eva for her misdeeds. From first glance, we love Albert: the twinkle in his eyes, his gentle soul, his comfort in who he is. We don’t blame his reaction when he reacts to Eva’s betrayal: He’s the better man, so to speak, and although we love Eva, the focus of Enough Said, at this point we love him more.

Once again, writer/director Nicole Holofcener (Friends with Money, Please Give) has proven her ability to create strong female characters, flaws and all. Her portrayal of women on the verge of midlife is true, as is the care with which she paints and presents her characters, flaws and all. With or without a date, you’ll enjoy spending time with these people, many of whom you probably already know from your own life. | Laura Hamlett

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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