When he died in June, James Gandolfini's place in the film and television firmament was secure thanks to his performance as Tony in “The Sopranos,” but that character was so strong that, at least in his lifetime, Gandolfini rarely got cast as a gentle soul. Fortunately, writer and director Nicole Holofcener saw that side of him, and in “Enough Said,” an insightful comedy of manners co-starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, so will everyone else.
Louis-Dreyfus plays Eva, a divorced Los Angeles massage therapist with a full roster of demanding clients, a solid group of smart friends and a daughter, Ellen (Tracey Fairaway), who is preparing to leave for college.
Not really looking for dates but not refusing them, she meets Albert (Gandolfini) at a tony West Los Angeles garden party and agrees to go out with him. He's a curator for a Paley Center-like television museum, rumpled and overweight but funny and kind, and a romance slowly develops between Eva and Albert.
The key complicating factor arises thanks to one of Eva's clients, Marianne (Holofcener regular Catherine Keener), an airy poet who is constantly complaining about her ex-husband. After a few of these bashing sessions, Eva realizes that she is talking about Albert.
This sounds like the setup for a mass-market rom-com, except that Holofcener, the director of “Please Give,” “Friends With Money” and “Lovely and Amazing,” has a gift for taking small stories and finding real truths. “Enough Said” is really about how Eva, a smart person seemingly in control of things, lets situations go until they are unmanageable, whether it's the behavior of her clients, the problem with Albert and Marianne, or Ellen's clingy friend Chloe (Tavi Gevinson, a 17-year-old fashion blogger making an impressive feature-length acting debut).
That kind of story requires great players and expert writing to elevate it, and all are up to the task. Gandolfini plays Albert as a smart, good-natured man who has learned to live with his own ways, even if Marianne found him abominable. Eva has to decide whether she can survive Marianne's withering assessments of Albert.
“Enough Said” is a class act with great performances all around, but it's the chemistry between Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini that feels real and lived-in. They are great together, and it's sad that “Enough Said” will be the last time we experience that warmth and familiarity between them.
— George Lang