Thursday, October 10, 2013

Saying goodbye to a cinematic treasure…(my review of 'Enough Said')


When the credits finished rolling on ‘Enough Said’ and the words ‘For Jim’ came on the screen, I shed a tear.  The shock of Gandolfini’s death and the impact it has had on me as a fan is still hard to take, and I have to say that watching him in ‘Enough Said’ was one of those bittersweet moments.  It was sweet, because this is, without a single doubt, the greatest performance he’s ever given.  It was bitter because I knew that I’d never see him tap into this side of himself again.

I seriously want to cry right now.

The power of Gandolfini’s performance comes from the fact that he is not acting here, at all.  He’s simply living this performance, and he completely wins the audience over.  While the ensemble as a whole is wonderful, Gandolfini is in a league all his own.  Julia Louis-Dreyfus is hilarious, and yet where she is obviously reaching for those moments (she gets them, but you can see her reaching), Gandolfini just sits back and lets it all roll off of his natural charm and charisma.  He never has to reach out for anything, it just comes to him.  Toni Collette (the best I’ve seen her in years), Catherine Keener (always a joy) and Ben Falcone work with Holofcener’s rich dialog and character development with ease, but none with the ease of Gandolfini, who delivers one of my favorite performances of the year.



‘Enough Said’ is not the best film I’ve seen this year, but it is probably my favorite, and that says a lot.  No film so far this year has given so much JOY while watching it.  I never stopped smiling.  Even when I was crying (and that happened a few times) I was still smiling.  I also never have ever in my life wanted a clichéd happy ending so badly.

Like seriously, I was praying for one.

‘Enough Said’ tells the beautiful story of Eva, a divorced mother and massage therapist dreading the idea of her daughter moving off to college.  At a party she meets two people, Marianne and Albert.  Marianne is a poet who is in need of a massage and wants someone to complain about her ex-husband to.  Albert is that ex-husband, in need of a new start in life.  Eva winds up being the best thing that ever happened to either of them, but as she listens to Marianne go on and on about how awful Albert is, her relationship with the otherwise charming and sensible man becomes tarnished.  Can she really maintain both relationships, and what is it about Marianne and her bounty of complaints that keeps Eva coming back for more, when she so obviously has fallen for Albert?



While watching ‘Enough Said’ I couldn’t help but think that this is everything that last years ‘Hope Springs’ should have been, but wasn’t.  Love at middle age should not be hard to watch, but should be celebrated and loved.  While this film is hilarious (seriously, the whole first half of the film is one giant batch of wit and charm) but the relationship between Albert and Eva never becomes a joke, even when we are supposed to laugh at their awkward bedroom antics.  This relationship and all the weight it carries is taken seriously.  That is the beauty of ‘Enough Said’, because it feels so richly understood and it knows exactly what it is trying to convey, and it does just that.


For me, this is an easy A.  I’m trying really hard to refrain from handing +’s out to everything, and seeing ‘Gravity’ (a true masterpiece) helped me put the rest of the year in perspective (so I’ve since moved the other A+ ratings down to A’s on the 2013 review page).  Like I said though, this may not be the best of the year, but it is my favorite.  As far as awards potential, this could sneak into Screenplay, but I doubt it.  I do, however, strongly feel that Gandolfini is getting nominated in Supporting Actor.  He is so natural and brilliant and delivers a performance that you can’t shake.  It would be category fraud in my eyes, but it is a grey area and I don’t think anyone would baulk at a supporting placement.  The question is, could he win?  I actually think he might.

8 comments:

  1. It bums me out that James Gandolfini isn't around anymore. I really liked watching him and Julia Louis-Dreyfus together as I think they make a very natural comedic duo. If he was still alive. I could see him reprise his role from In the Loop where he would appear Veep as that character since both projects are from the same filmmaker. Could you imagine the banter that Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini would have in that show?

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    1. He was sensational in 'In the Loop', and I would have loved to see him reprise that character.

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  2. So sad to see him go. He's so lovely and charming here that it makes you wonder what else he could have done with the rest of his career, had he not been taken so soon. Good review.

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    1. That was the roughest part about watching this...realizing that he had just tapped into something so special and will never be able to build on that.

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  3. I saw your AW signature and knew I had to see this. Hopefully, I'll be able to catch it early next week before it quits playing near me.

    If there's one actor I want to see nominated, it's Gandolfini. But will it really happen? Supporting Actor has some wiggle room, so maybe he'll get in. The problem is getting enough voters to see the film.

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    1. I mentioned this on AW, but his performance is so charming and so unlike anything he's done before that I can't see voters seeing him and then NOT voting for him. It was the perfect sendoff. It's sweet and sentimental and so effortless that he basically dares you not to fall in love with him. If they see it, they will vote.

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  4. Great review. I really liked the performances that Gandolfini and Dreyfus brought, and how they settled into their roles (although I agree with Dreyfus reaching a bit to get the moment). I liked how they're not over dramatized, and how their relationship moved in its own pace. The script inputs realism into their story. It was well written, and the actors were great.

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    1. Thanks (don't know why I'm just now seeing this).

      This was such a complete script, such a beautiful look at love from another angle, one that isn't often shown on the big screen.

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