Nicole Holofcener dares to make films for adults, movies that demand maturity and a taste for the messiness of reality. Her dialogue buzzes with possibility; her characters say things you can actually imagine people saying, even when they are revealing their most idiosyncratic foibles. Few contemporary screenwriters evince this level of wisdom, of humour, and of grace. It is, in this age of diminished revenues and gun-shy studios, basically an ongoing miracle that she is able to make these small, wonderful pictures.
In Enough Said, an overweight man (James Gandolfini, warm as a bearhug in his final leading role) and a slightly quirky woman (an utterly winning Julia Louis-Dreyfus), both middle-aged and divorced and several weeks away from sending their only children off to university and thus becoming empty nesters, strike up an intimate relationship. But, unbeknownst to him, she has recently befriended his ex-wife (Catherine Keener) and is milking her, secretly, for information. "It's like Trip Advisor for relationships," she quips to her friend (a never better Toni Collette).
What if you could know, really know what's going to drive you crazy about your new lover years down the road? Would you want to find out now, while you could still strangle the relationship in its infancy? Wouldn't you be safer that way? Perhaps. But, as Enough Said makes vividly apparent, you'd also be impoverished in myriad ways. Would we ever try anything if we always knew the outcome? And, anyway, what relationship is perfect? What would that even look like?
Despite the utter unlikelihood of the plotting, everything about Enough Said feels lived in and true. A film about loneliness, honesty, aging, and the everyday work we must do to maintain any meaningful relationship, Enough Said is Holofcener's most accessible work yet. Sparkling, light and yet awash in thoughtful insight into the particular challenges of new love in middle age, this was easily my favourite comedy of the festival so far.
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