This latest work from Nicole Holofcener is a charming and fresh last look at the great James Gandolfini. But it would be unfair to hark back to him alone, despite the obvious nicety in seeing him perform again in Enough Said.
But then in the film itself, he deserves praise. Interestingly and indeed with probable necessity the man has been tasked and challenged with an entirely delightful and new character. Gone are many of the mannerisms and ways we grew to know and love in Sopranos and the like.
He is Albert, a divorcee who meets Eva (the excellent Julia Louis-Dreyfus) at a swanky party. She too has just come out of a marriage and the two hit if off immediately, drawing on the tragedy of love lost, two daughters about to embark on college lives and the heavy despondency and fragility of life.
This movie reflects much of middle-life hardships, uncertainty and levity. It captures those emotions I know nothing about – but perhaps have seen in my parents, or at least heard about from others.
What is refreshing though is the brutal reality of it all, which allows both good times and bad to be projected without any oppressing sense of overindulgence or clouded judgement. Holofcener has created a tale that is both warming but also dismissive at times – there is nothing wholly ground-breaking in the topic or story, but both Albert and Eva have a voice and are played wonderfully by Gandolfini and Louis-Dreyfus.
The film does feel burdened at times, if perhaps showing telling signs of past works by Holofcener that have felt a little clustered. But here above all the comedic devices and charm shines through. It is a lovely way to see Gandolfini again though, of course, is a film meriting far more than his name alone.
Director: Nicole Holofcener
Produced by: Anthony Bregman; Stefanie Azpiazu
Julia Louis-Dreyfus; James Gandolfini
Release: October 2013
Running time: 93 minutes
- Joshua Barrie
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