Enough Said: A Fond Farewell to James Gandolfini

Enough Said

Opens Fri., Sept. 27 at Sundance and other theaters. Rated PG-13. 92 minutes.

Nothing much happens in a Nicole Holofcener film, and that’s OK. What transpires in Walking and Talking or Friends With Money or Please Give is mainly women fretting about potential catastrophes that might ruin their lives. Earthquakes, adultery, alien invasion, ungrateful children, brushfires, horrid mothers—they’re all the same. Enough Said is yet another well-wrought example of Holofcener’s focus on the problems intelligent women create for themselves through their constant worry.

Ten years divorced, her daughter soon to leave for college, Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) wearily lugs her massage table from client to client, hearing their petty complaints without comment, seemingly resigned to a single woman’s slide toward menopause. The large, hairy obstacle in that path is Albert (James Gandolfini), also divorced with a college-bound daughter. Demographically, they’re identical baby boomers, quite conscious of their age and future prospects. Why do they click? “Our middle-agedness is sort of comforting and sexy,” says Eva by way of explanation, but even she doesn’t know for sure. Albert and Eva are set in their ways; neither is going to change the other; and Eva has a secret pipeline to confirm her doubts about him: Albert’s ex-wife Marianne (Catherine Keener) is one of her clients.

If there is a Hippocratic oath for masseuses, Eva knows she’s broken it tenfold. She should be disbarred from the profession, her table burned. Yet she continues to knead and befriend the cynical poet while allowing Marianne’s complaints to poison her relationship with Albert. (“He’s a loser. Who would date a person like that?”) She’s hedging, trying to guard against a future letdown by finding all his faults upfront. It’s a terrible ethical betrayal acknowledged a third of the way into the movie; the next hour consists of the fallout—or rather, talking about the fallout. (Eva, after many lies, doesn’t confess until late.)

Holofcener often directs for television, and here she has two top-shelf TV stars—if not the benefit of sitcom writers who might’ve given the plot a few welcome kicks forward. There are few zingers in Enough Said, but plenty of inflectional humor. Is Eva serious about Albert? “Yeahhmaybe,” says Louis-Dreyfus, her face yawning with uncertainty, denial, and affection. In his last screen role, Gandolfini conveys a lumpy shyness and decency; his Albert is genuinely hurt by the fat-shaming of Eva’s yoga-toned cohort. Eva’s BFF (Toni Colette) tells her to learn to compromise in a relationship, even while constantly dissing her husband (the excellently indignant Ben Falcone). For the women of Enough Said, too much candor has its risks, but remaining silent can bring disaster.

bmiller@seattleweekly.com

 
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