Dating in the movies is always a big ordeal, a larger-than-life experiment that always ends in blooming romance and “happier ever afters” or tragic heartbreak that requires a sequel to tell the story of how the protagonist got over it.
Dating in real life is rarely like that. That’s the strength of Enough Said, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Eva, a masseuse and single mother whose daughter is about to move away to attend college.
Eva attends a party with her friends Sarah (Toni Collette) and Will (Ben Falcone) where she is introduced to Albert (James Gandolfini, in one of his final roles), a single father who also has a daughter on the verge of moving out to attend college.
While Eva finds him charming, she isn’t attracted to him and thus the obvious pair-up doesn’t happen – right away. We get Eva’s perspective of the situation based on what she tells Sarah over video chat between her clients but even more, we get her feelings on Albert through what she tells her new client, Marianne (Catherine Keener), a poet she also met at the party.
Nothing about Enough Said is glamorous because nothing runs smoothly. The interactions between Eva and Albert are always awkward but they’re charming because it feels so natural. The chemistry between the two on screen is magical where the storyline doesn’t contain the standard fairytale we’re used to in romantic comedies.
Most notably, the story could have been told with just their facial expressions.
Eva isn’t sure about her interest in Albert in the beginning but is willing to give him a shot. Her compliments in the beginning aren’t supported with her expressions and we can sense that Albert may see that and he either pretends to not notice or doesn’t actually notice.
Many times with films like these, the supporting characters play a key role in making a great film and while Enough Said has a strong cast of supporting roles for context, Eva’s daughter Ellen (Tracey Fairaway) and her friend Chloe (Tavi Gevinson) for example, the spotlight is on Julia and James and their on-screen presence that feels so real. We can feel the hurt, disappointment, or sheer joy when we see it on the screen.
Such a release of visual emotion is rare for something that seems so typically normal. Most times, a script will interject something to make up for what could be a mundane storyline. Here, the mundane is the storyline and it is captured perfectly.