TIFF Review: 'Enough Said'

Enough Said
(USA, 91 min.)
Written and directed by Nicole Holofcener
Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gondolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette (Sarah), Ben Falcone.
Programme: Special Presentations (World Premiere)
Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) finds herself in a love triangle of sorts in Nicole Holofcener’s radiantly funny Enough Said. Eva, a divorced and single parent, finds herself exploring a second chance at love when she meets a fat, slobby man named Albert (played by the late James Gandolfini) at a party. Albert is not the kind of man to whom Eva would normally take a liking. Her first impression with him, in fact, sees her blurt that she doesn’t find a single man at the party attractive. Albert quips back that he finds all the surrounding women repulsive. They’re a funny pair.

Eva also meets a woman at the party whom she does find attractive. Marianne (Catherine Keener) is a stylish, fun, and cool poet. Eva’s girl-crush on Marianne is reciprocated, as she secures Marianne as a client for her business as a masseuse. It’s a mildly successful event, then: zero romantic prospects, one client.

Eva lucks out on both counts and receives calls from both Albert and Marianne. Score one for word vomit. First dates go well on both counts and Eva strikes up a healthy relationship with Albert and a liberating, groovy friendship with Marianne. Both of Eva's new friends share a passion: they love trash-talking their exes, which seems like an inevitable side effect of Eva's job—people love to blow off steam as they relax under the hands of a masseuse, especially Marianne, who has nothing but a hilarious, distinctly Holofcenerian diatribes against her overweight slob of a husband.

Nicole Holofcener delivers another winner with Enough Said. Enough Said is another of the indie director’s smart, funny, and laudably down-to-earth ensemble-driven comedies. Holofcener pulls off what could have been a fatally contrived premise with effortless air as her endlessly funny and profoundly human script delves into relationship woes and embraces the flaws we all carry. Scripting natural, yet consistently witty, dialogue and true-to-life characters, Holofcener takes the audience on a winning arc through the ups-and-downs of finding love, losing it, and finding it again. Enough Said doesn’t judge its roster of flawed and fallible characters: it presents our shortcomings not as baggage but as endearing idiosyncrasies.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus does justice to every word of the script in her consistently likable performance as Eva. Louis-Dreyfus embraces the awkward and confusing messiness of love that leads Eva to make all kinds of terrible decisions, but there is not a false note to rib-tickling anxiety that complicates the Bermuda triangle of her relationships with Albert and Marianne.

Enough Said also marks one of the more touching selections at TIFF this year as it offers one of the last performances by the late and great James Gandolfini. Gandolfini, best known for playing tough, hardnosed mobsters, plays against type as the sweet and sensitive Albert. It’s a side of his talent that rarely got to emerge in some of previous roles. He’s hilarious and jarringly vulnerable as the big teddy bear who saves Eva from mid-life malaise. Gandolfini’s performance in Enough Said is sure to remind audiences of the enormous talent we lost earlier this year.

In addition to the great rapport between Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini, Enough Said provides one of Holofcener’s characteristically great ensemble casts, from Catherine Keener, who makes Marianne likable and relatable even though she’s the film’s antagonist, to Toni Collette as Eva’s giddy best friend, who shows that no relationship is ever perfect or a complete escape from middle-age boredom. Enough Said also brings a good eye for the complicated chaos of young love, both romantic and platonic, as Holofcener gets some great turns from Tracey Fairaway, Eve Hewson, and Tavi Gavinson as the Eva and Albert’s daughters (both from birth and surrogacy).

Enough Said might be Nicole Holofcener’s warmest and sunniest film yet. It’s fun and moving, and completely honest in its depiction of the inevitable insecurities that plague as we open ourselves to others. Brought to life by a great script and a cast of wonderful players, the film is easily a highlight at the festival this year. Above all, though, Enough Said lets audiences discover another layer in an actor who already displayed such an impressive range of talent.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of ★★★★★)

Enough Said screens again at the festival on Sunday, September 15 at 9:00 pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox 1.

Nicole Holofcener (at podium), Tracey Fairaway, producer Anthony Bregman,
Eve Hewson, Tavi Gevinson,, Toni Collette, Catherine Keener, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Nicole Holofcener, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Toni Collette, Eve Hewson,
Tracey Fairaway, Tavi Gevinson,  Catherine Keener,producer Anthony Bregman

Nicole Holofcener, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Toni Collette, Eve Hewson,
Tracey Fairaway, Tavi Gevinson,

Nicole Holofcener, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Toni Collette, Eve Hewson,
Tracey Fairaway, Tavi Gevinson, Catherine Keener