“Enough Said is truly a bittersweet movie for anyone who loves bears,” sighs Violet Lucca over at Film Comment. “Hollywood’s finest big, hairy, handsome man—gone far too soon at age 51—proves that he could’ve been the next great romantic comedy leading man in this, his final role. Sans Joisey accent, James Gandolfini oozes sensitivity and warmth as Albert, a divorced dad pre-paring to send his daughter to college while starting a new relationship. Refreshingly, his match is the age-appropriate Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who is also divorced and struggling with a soon-to-be-empty nest.”
“[Nicole] Holofcener’s latest rumination on modern manners would be tart regardless, with its well-publicized premise,” notes John Anderson at Thompson on Hollywood. “Eva, a romance-challenged masseuse and single mom (Louis-Dreyfus) acquires a new boyfriend (Gandolfini) and a new best friend (Catherine Keener) in the same week, listens to them trash their exes, and then (lightbulb!) discovers they were married to each other. But even though it’s a situation comedy, writ large, at no time does the film not feel fresh, thanks to Holofcener’s gifts as a comedy director, and to a pair of leads who make you feel all the uncertainty, doubt, fear and regrets of middle age, and the shock/joy at finding love when it seemed utterly impossible.”
It’s “a fairly contrived sitcom scenario, but Holofcener bends it into a loose, lightly funny meditation on divorce, getting older, and impending empty-nest syndrome,” writes A.A. Dowd at the AV Club. “Also, yes, Gandolfini is terrific.”
“Sitcom scenario, meet sitcom aesthetics,” writes Adam Nayman for Cinema Scope. “Enough Said, which is set in a Los Angeles so blandly lit that it barely seems to be playing itself, is a movie that seems made to be watched on On Demand (or on an airplane). Taken on those terms, it’s a perfectly enjoyable piece of work, perhaps a notch or two below Nicole Holofcener’s previous Please Give, which foregrounded class and money where this follow-up lets those issues simply fade into the haze.”
“All in all,” though, writes Paul MacInnes in the Guardian, “a comedy that starts out like a pudding made of first world problems ends up warming your heart and that is in no small part down to the strength of its two leads. As a final act, it’s a touching one.”
Tiffany Vazquez has announced that Kent Jones will chat with Holofcener at the Film Society of Lincoln Center on September 17.
Enough Said is a Special Presentation in Toronto.
Update, 9/12: Kristin McCracken talks with Holofcener for the Playlist.
Update, 9/17: In Review Online‘s Kenji Fujishima: “As was the case with her previous films—Walking & Talking (1996), Lovely & Amazing (2001) and Friends With Money (2006) among them—Holofcener’s latest takes place in a firmly bourgeois environment, with all the relatively petty concerns—about appearances, status and so on—that comes with such a lifestyle. Thankfully, whereas many of the upper-middle-class characters in her last film, Please Give (2010), behaved in a manner that seemed as if those bourgeois characters came from another planet altogether, Enough Said touches on more recognizable universal concerns.”
Update, 9/19: Enough Said is “Holofcener’s strongest movie since Lovely & Amazing,” writes J. Hoberman at Artinfo. “Having made a mess of the subject in her weakest film Friends with Money, Holofcener seemingly has little interest in the real issues of money and status that would plague her protagonists. Their cartoon chemistry and their respective neediness is crucial in that Enough Said makes a serious (albeit funny) statement about the ways in which projected appearance trumps subjective experience.”
“Line for line, scene for scene, it is one of the best-written American film comedies in recent memory and an implicit rebuke to the raunchy, sloppy spectacles of immaturity that have dominated the genre in recent years,” writes A.O. Scott in the New York Times.
“While most film romances feel like a fait accompli,” writes Sam Adams, “Enough Said’s tentative fumblings toward bliss require, and merit, fighting for; its wanderings are never less than pleasant and its final moments pack surprising emotional power.” Also in Time Out New York, David Fear interviews Julia-Louis Dreyfus.
More from Jason Bailey (Flavorwire), Chris Cabin (Slant, 1.5/4), A.A. Dowd (AV Club, B), David Edelstein (New York), Andrew O’Hehir (Salon), Mary Pols (Time), Nathan Rabin (Dissolve, 2.5/5), Kenneth Turan (Los Angeles Times), Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com), and Stephanie Zacharek (Voice).
Updates, 9/21: “You’ll need to set aside the whole credit sequence to cry after watching Enough Said,” writes Slate‘s Dana Stevens. “And not just because the closing dedication, ‘For Jim,’ reminds us (as if every frame of the film hadn’t already) that this magnificent actor died too recently, and way too young, for us to have fully realized yet how much we’ll miss him. There’s also the stinging irony that Gandolfini’s second-to-last movie role (the last will be in the upcoming Animal Rescue) is one of the finest performances of his career, and one that suggests a new direction that career might have gone in had he lived. Wrap around all those reasons to weep the fact that Enough Said is a wonderful movie, observant and hilarious and full of sad and beautiful truths, and I think you’ll see the wisdom of bringing sunglasses to the theater.”
Francine Prose for the New York Review of Books: “Funny and romantic on the surface, tough-minded and often sharply satiric underneath, Holofcener’s comedies remind us, as few Hollywood films do, that people work for a living; they support themselves and their families, they pay their rent and their bills. They have more or less money than their friends, labor at glamorous or demeaning jobs, live in grander or more modest dwellings—and these differences in salary and status are significant, especially to those at the lower end of the spectrum.”
“The films of Nicole Holofcener, on their surface, appear to traffic in the cheap thrill of recognition,” writes Alice Gregory for the New Yorker. “They have the trappings of what counts as contemporary cinematic realism: actors with asymmetrical faces and unpolished, off-kilter dialogue…. But Holofcener’s films are more than just collections of accurate props and believable references. It’s the stories Holofcener tells about these characters—her plots—that feel true to life. And coming up with plots like this—plots that nail it—is a different, and greater, achievement than hiring a good location scout and costume designer to help pepper a fictional universe with familiar details.”
“Holofcener is not a household name, and that’s a terrible thing,” writes Michelle Dean at Flavorwire, where she calls on “women to start throwing their economic weight behind her work.”
“Maybe Holofcener has found a groove,” suggests Jesse Hassenger at the L, “because if anything, I’d say her work is getting better: more focused, funnier, and smartly paced.”