4958_3736Seeing as Hollywood is littered with an abundance of meaningless romantic comedies every year, it’s a genre somewhat tarnished from a critical point of view. However when done well, it can be the most delightful of territories to delve into, and Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said is a rare gem in that department – bringing together two of American TV’s most adored icons, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and the late James Gandolfini, in what is the latter’s penultimate feature film.

Eva (Louis-Dreyfus) is only a mere matter of weeks away from living alone. As her daughter Ellen (Tracey Fairaway) is preparing to head off to college, and leave her single, divorced mum all by herself. On the prowl for some companionship, the masseuse meets Albert (Gandolfini) at a party, striking up an instant bond with a man currently in the exact same predicament. However while the pair develop feelings for one another – and their relationship starts to get serious – Eva discovers that her client, and new friend, Marianne (Catherine Keener) is Albert’s ex-wife, and while she listens intently to her lamenting and vilifying her past lover, Eva starts to doubt the relationship after all.

Though abiding by a conventional formula – Enough Said excels within its subtlety, as we’re left to our own devices to fill in the gaps, in a film that feels unique and realistic. The mid-life rom-com genre works well because there’s an element of now or never, a last chance notion that remains prevalent throughout. It’s not like young love, where you always feel that our protagonists will get over it and find somebody else once the credits roll, in this you’re as desperate as the characters for this to be compatible, and it’s essential that you root for the relationship for this film to work.

It’s genuinely funny too, with several laugh out loud moments. They derive from the awkwardness and naturalistic idiosyncrasies shared by the pair on their first dates, and yet they never feel contrived or forced. There is such a natural chemistry between the two and the dialogue feels so authentic, as you struggle to even imagine that a script was ever involved. To play against the comedic elements, there is depth to this title too, in how Eva’s perceptions of Albert come through somebody else, and how that prevents the romance truly blossoming, as she picks up on all the small aspects to his demeanour, that would initially have been endearing – yet are now frustrating and obtrusive – only because she feels they should be.

Gandolfini is incredibly endearing in the film also, complete with that fragility that made him such a wonderful, unique talent. It seems like such a fitting role for him to appear in so soon after passing away, because his character is sweet and genial, and it’s how you wish for him to be remembered. Meanwhile, Louis-Dreyfus is wonderful, playing that clumsy, awkward-in-love female lead that has become popular recently thanks to the likes of Kristen Wiig and Greta Gerwig. Thing is, Louis-Dreyfus has mastered such a character, having done this for decades with Elaine in Seinfeld, playing the role with so much sincerity and earnestness. It’s refreshing to see women play such roles in film, as it enhances the notion that when it comes to love, we’re all as bad at it as the next person, male or female, and the smallest, mot trivial of matters mean the same thing, regardless of the gender.

Complete with a gentle, amiable tone, Enough Said excels within its distinct charm and simplicity. Sometimes there’s no need for the likes of time machines to get the message across, eh Richard Curtis?