By Eddie Burton (New Jersey)
Before I saw this movie, I never really thought of James Gandolfini as a great actor. Granted he was fantastic in The Sopranos, but I never really saw any of his other work, in film or TV. When I heard of his death, I was genuinely heart broken. Because he played such a big part in The Sopranos success playing the intense, electric mob boss with a soft heart. I remember distinctly getting teary eyed after this film ended. Because he was so good playing the gentle, kind hearted, sweet leading man in this film. After this film, I realized how much range he had as an actor which makes it all the more tragic that he’s gone. Because while gaining a considerable amount of success and popularity from The Sopranos, he never really got his big break in movies. Enough Said to me, proved he deserved that break in movies and could be a leading man.
Enough Said stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Eva. A divorced mother who is lonely yet optimistic woman with a daughter going to college. She also runs her private massage business where she goes to people’s houses and hearing about their lives. She really only has one friend in Sarah (Toni Collette). Eva goes to a party with Sarah and her husband and meets two people. One being Marianne (Catherine Keener) and the other being Albert (James Gandolfini.) One nit-pick I have about the movie is how Albert and Eva’s relationship begins. Because their friends set them both up for a date with each other because of how well they related to one another. But it’s never really shown how they connect. All their first meeting shows is awkward conversation. But the way their relationship is developed throughout the film is very well done.
Immediately from Albert and Eva’s first date, you can see the chemistry between the two actors and it seems genuine of how their relationship unfolds throughout the rest of the film. All the characters are relatable and the dialogue is very realistic and the writer is very patient with telling a love story. Unlike a lot of other generic love movies where the notion of love at first sight is used and not only that, but also taken advantage of, along with the writing not being as clever, patient, or realistic.
This film practically perfects a real love story. A lot of the sub plots are also very entertaining. One of the standouts for me is where Eva is growing distant from her daughter due to her leaving for college and starts to relate and become close with her daughters friend. It’s real interesting to see how that story arc will play out along with many others. The performances are the strong suit of the film with everyone bringing in memorable performances. Its evident each actor knew their characters and knew what to bring to their characters.
James Gandolfini is the show stealer though being the most sincere character. Albert is everything you wanted him to be. Kind, gentle, lovable, relatable, sweet, and when he’s in pain or embarrassed, you really feel for the guy and want him to be ok. James Gandolfini brings a lot to the character and I wish he played more characters like this because he’s perfect for that kind of role. They also add a really creative twist that I didn’t see coming which sadly leads to the film becoming a bit predictable. As much as I love this movie, I will admit, it did get a bit predictable.
Eva and Albert do break up as almost every love story does with their main characters and eventually get back together or at the very least, signal they’re going to get back together. For a film written and acted so well, you would think that they would put a different hook on it. However, the reason they separate is written very smartly and sensible. Plus, you do wish they would get back together.
That’s the probably the best part of the film in that you really care about these characters and their relationship. Where in most love movies, the filmmakers kind of force the relationship on you. Enough Said simply presents you with what they have and you make up your own mind on whether or not you care or don’t. I admire that as many writers don’t provide that same kind of freedom. It’s a great love story, with a great script, great actors, and one of my favorite movies of this year. While a tad predictable and generic in the third act of the movie, everything else is done so smart. Along with one of my favorite performances by James Gandolfini.