REVIEW: Enough Said

8 04 2015

One day after work in London, I had a few hours to kill before a dinner engagement and decided to spend them seeing “Enough Said.”  The auditorium was the size of some houses’ living room, so any obnoxious behavior was sure to stand out even more than usual.  So, of course, I found myself laughing hysterically nearly the entire duration of the film and thus the butt of a number of glares.

I was not the only person having a great time, but I certainly seemed to enjoy the film more than most people in the audience.  (Maybe the humor was culturally specific?)  “Enough Said” does feature one of my favorite comediennes, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, turning in some of her funniest and most humane work to date.

It’s a common phrase regarding comic actors that they could make reading the phone book a laugh riot.  But I am convinced that Louis-Dreyfus could just look at a phone book and have me in stitches.  Her expressions and reactions practically constitute a second text of the film, and it only serves to enhance the richness of emotion and humor in writer/director Nicole Holofcener’s script.

“Enough Said” may be a little slight compared with some of the heftier, more thematically complex works of the filmmaker like 2006’s “Friends with Money” or 2010’s “Please Give.”  Nonetheless, her film delights with the familiarity and recognition.  Her characters feel less like symbols or stand-ins for big ideas and more like real people.  As a result, the comedy derives from everyday, mundane occurrences, and it allows the film to really hit a nerve.

Enough Said

For Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays single mother Eva preparing for an empty nest, the humor of “Enough Said” is not a shield to hind behind but rather a natural outgrowth of her character’s insecurity.  As she enters into an unexpected romantic relationship with James Gandolfini’s Albert, who is going through the same experience of sending a child off to college, Eva acts and talks flippantly in order to keep herself from getting hurt.  This ultimately leads her down a path of self-protection to the point of self-destruction.

Even though I am still a good few decades away from enduring these ordeals, I still felt connected with all the characters in “Enough Said” because they remind me of people I know (including myself).  The fears and vulnerabilities that Holofcener explores in the film have enough potency to cross barriers such as age or gender.  Seeking to minimize our own emotional exposure, we often do what Eva does to Albert, self-servingly trying to mold people into a desirable image in order to meet our needs.  And in order to feel secure, we often allow the judgment of others to cloud our own.

Ultimately, “Enough Said” makes for a great look at the power of perspective.  And looking at the film from the perspective of whether or not Holofcener accomplishes what she sets out to do, she succeeds admirably.  The same cannot necessarily be said about Eva though, who mostly fails and succeeds with varying levels of admirability.  She does, however, maintain a consistent level of hilarity.  A-3halfstars



One response

31 01 2016

Loved this film! So sad he passed away 😦

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