Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini deliver a masterclass in acting in Nicole Holofcener’s 2013 romantic comedy, Enough Said.
Watching this film in 2013 marked time getting to experience writer-director Nicole Holofcener’s work on the big or small screen. While I confess that I’ve not seen her first four features, I attended the world premieres of her 2018 and 2023 feature films. I may just go back through her earlier filmography as my schedule allows.
Holofcener drew inspiration from her own life in bringing the film to the screen. There’s something about her writing that makes the film so heartwarming and charming. Produced for a budget under $10 million, Enough Said–originally titled She Means Well–could rival anything being released today. Again, it speaks to the writing, acting, and directing. It’s the sort of adult romantic comedy where everything is coming together in the right way. I know it’s a cliché but it’s true. There’s a universe where the film performs better during awards season but it was such a stacked year for competition. Even in looking at the Best Actress nominations, I’m thinking who would I remove and insert Julia Louis-Dreyfus and it’s impossible.
The gist of the film is that Marianne’s (Catherine Keener) ex, Albert (James Gandolfini), is the dream date for massage therapist Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). Of course, we don’t know this until later in the film even though they meet at the same party. Will (Ben Falcone) introduces the two of them. It’s such a brilliant twist that we never see coming, much like–spoiler alert–Darth Vader being Luke Skywalker’s father. No matter what terrible things Marianne says about Albert, Eva is still in love with him. The comedy just writes itself! It’s like Eva has to hear Yelp reviews about Albert in person, whether she wants to or not. Anyway, the two of them have a lot of similarities, which is probably why they’re so perfect for each other. Both of them have children–Ellen (Tracey Fairaway) and Tess (Eve Hewson)–getting ready for college.
It’s sad to think that James Gandolfini died before the film was released. I never watched The Sopranos so I wasn’t sure what to expect back in 2013. And yet, here he is doing comedy and sharing scenes with the ever-amazing Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who is playing against type. You have to wonder what could have been and I’m not talking about Holofcener first considering the now-disgraced Louis C.K. for the role. Had this been the case, I would most definitely not be watching the film for an anniversary review. Would Holofcener have considered a reunion of the duo in You Hurt My Feelings? I’d like to think so. Meanwhile, Louis-Dreyfus is amazing in everything she does. This film is certainly no exception as the Veep star puts on another masterclass in acting.
There’s something to take away from the film when it comes to both perceptions and second chances. Eva has a new chance at love but how she perceives Albert is frequently being filtered through conversations with Marianne. Marianne could be complaining about Albert’s cooking skills, only for Eva to share a home-cooked meal that evening. Before learning that Albert is Marianne’s ex, Eva asks Marianne to keep complaining! Who would do such a thing? Only Nicole Holofcener could comic up with this comic genius of a screenplay!
Enough Said holds up as one of the best adult romantic comedies of the 21st century because of Nicole Holofcener’s script and beautiful performances from Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Nicole Holofcener
CAST: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette, Tavi Gevinson, Ben Falcone, Tracey Fairaway, Eve Hewson