BY ERIN TORRANCE
An official selection of TIFF 2013 and released on home video in just the last week, Enough Said is a film I’m happy I watched at home and not in theatres—for good reasons, not bad, which I’ll later explain. But first, a quick intro.
Enough Said is a charming romantic comedy starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Eva, a divorced masseuse dreading the coming departure of her daughter for college. Eva meets Albert (James Gandolfini) at a party, where they both say (in more general terms) that they don’t find each other attractive. Albert is also a divorcee whose daughter is heading off to college in the fall, a life event that he also dreads. The two connect over the awful thought of loneliness in an empty nest and soon start to date. While their first date doesn’t seem to go that well at first, the two find amusement in throwing shots at each other. This playful “harassment” and self-deprecating humour finds this pair of divorcees falling into love.
But, of course, love never goes smoothly and Eva finds herself in a very awkward predicament—she’s the masseuse and best friend of (unknowingly) Albert’s ex-wife, Marianne (Catherine Keener). When Eva eventually makes the connection, instead of mentioning the coincidence to Albert and Marianne or ending one of the two relationships (I was rooting for Albert, of course; Marianne just seems rude when she criticizes Albert for such petty things like not having a nightstand—which I didn’t have when I was living alone, either, so perhaps I took extra offense to that being a sign of loserness), Eva starts to ask questions about why Marianne left her ex. Unfortunately, the negative talk seeps into Eva’s relationship with Albert.
While Eva has good reason to be interested in Albert’s failed marriage, her need to protect herself from another loss in love prevents her from protecting love itself. And while we know she’s in the wrong, when it all blows up in her face, you still feel sorry for her. Plus, I just couldn’t help but fall in love with Albert (whom Eva playfully calls “Fat Albert”), so I needed it to all work out so he would have a happy ending, too.
This film is nothing really all that new from director Nicole Holofcener. The love story is similar to that of Friends with Money, a film in which a maid falls in love with a man whom she thought was just a slob whose excess weight turned her off. When her world seems to be unraveling and she looks to find something enjoyable in life, she ends up finding just that in the man she “wasn’t attracted to.” (Sounds familiar, right?) Catherine Keener also seems to be a staple in Holofcener’s films, appearing in three of the five. Keener really fits the roles, though; there’s something about her acting—a sort of calm quirkiness—that melds well with Holofcener’s seemingly signature easy-going, average, everyday-life plotlines.
This film doesn’t move fast, but every moment is real—there’s no Hollywood here. From the dialogue to the development of the relationship and Eva’s eventual downfall, nothing is exaggerated. The characters’ motivations and reactions just make sense. And that’s exactly why I was happy to have watched this film at home, rather than in theatres. Because home is average–there are no added bonuses of movie-grade popcorn, reclining chairs, or surround sound here. My home is simple with no frills, and that’s exactly the kind of romantic comedy Enough Said is.