Going steady: Enough Said movie review
Gandolfini shines in posthumous release
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 19:10
Louis-Dreyfus brings quaint forms of expression to Eva, an independent woman with real wit and a knack for self-deprecating humor. She’s exposed in a way she hasn’t been before, and in middle age, she remains voluptuous and tantalizingly seductive.
Even her daughter’s friends come to her for sex advice. She is stylish and able to impart the kind of mentality that adolescents can relate to – she’s unsure of herself and what she wants.
In this film, it’s her mental impenetrability that makes her so desirable. And Eva is at the center of Holofcener’s comedy of self-consciousness, and Albert justifies it – his awkwardness benefits from its earnestness.
When she meets Albert, all her ideas about herself become subject to questioning. The spark of new romance removes her from her own world and offers the possibility of something new.
They both have daughters, but when Eva meets Albert’s it quickly becomes evident she’s a privileged snob – when they all meet to have lunch, she insists they eat at a more upscale restaurant. She even lacks the presence of mind to resist disparaging Sarah Lawrence College after Eva tells her that’s where her daughter is planning on going.
As evident as her pretension is, even more evident is Albert’s genuine affection for her. Regardless of her flaws at the moment, he believes she will find her way once she escapes the currents of adolescence.
Meanwhile, Eva is still friends with Marianne unbeknownst to Albert. And for a while, she begins to grow tired of the very idiosyncrasies in Albert that Marianne faults him for. Eventually, of course, Eva’s surreptitious friendship intersects with her developing romance.
Amidst all this, the story takes place in a world of unexamined privilege. Eva’s other friend Sara (Toni Collette, The Way, Way Back) berates her housekeeper with a sense of entitlement clichéd in its association with Hollywood housewives. And throughout the film, no one seems to worry about money.
With all the itinerant indifference inundating lives of these characters, Albert exemplifies a sense of decency – he’s an honest man. And he’s a departure from the world she’s used to.
After her daughter leaves for school and she establishes into a new routine – one that is without Albert – she is shrouded by an incipient emptiness, an ennui. She becomes conflicted by what David Foster Wallace called a particularly American type of loneliness: “The prospect of dying without even once having loved something more than yourself.”
By the end, her choice to attempt to reunite with Albert is what American romantic comedies have been asserting for some time now. And given the nature of it, it makes sense why comedy is the avenue to address it: That it sometimes takes courage to make romantic decisions based on real values.
The achievement of this film is how it manages to have Gandolfini symbolize this. For someone long associated with the macabre and morally depraved Tony Soprano (the association’s presence in this film cannot be ignored), he delivers a performance that transcends the boundaries of our horizon of expectations.
And we’re no longer engulfed by what is already established, but by how he is able to reinvent himself on the screen. As you watch the film, you realize you’re getting an image of one of the many characters he had in him, and once you leave, you wonder how many others he might have had.
The film moves on its own swift rhythms and is well paced; it moves along with the characters. Both of the actors leave no vestige of their famed television roles and give us performances that are alive. They are alive in how they expose the complexities of living in a culture in which values make harder, but ultimately strengthen, the possibility of human connection.