A new movie is being released this week called "Enough Said," starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini, the actor from The Sopranos who passed away earlier this year. It's a film that explores dating and re-partnering in mid-life, and how complicated it can be.
When they meet, both Dreyfus (Eva) and Gandolfini (Albert) are about to have their only daughters leave for college. They are both single following their divorces. Their first date is a very humorous experience, as is the scene where Eva first meets Albert's daughter.
Their new relationship is tested by Eva's friendship with Albert's ex-wife, played by Catherine Keener, who is extremely expressive about all her pet peeves about him. Ultimately, the film makes us consider how rare love is, how we need to set boundaries to protect and honor it, and about the value of truly accepting some of your partner's imperfections, just as they accept yours. Loving someone isn't as much about finding the perfect person to love as it is being the most loving partner you can be.
There is also an interesting theme about adolescent daughters and their mothers, and the process of learning to separate, letting them individuate and letting go some. There are several mother-daughter pairs in the movie, all resolving that conflict differently. The daughters are also trying to figure out the right way to navigate through the changes that need to occur in the mother-daughter relationship as they prepare for launching.
There are several bittersweet elements in the movie, such as when Eva and her daughter's father, long divorced, say goodbye to their daughter, Ellen, as she leaves for her flight to start school at Sarah Lawrence. As Eva is tearful and visibly upset, her daughter's father shares the tender moment and tells her, "We made a good person." Long after the divorce, there are often moments that are bittersweet in this way for divorced parents as their children go through developmental milestones (often, not always).
Director Nicole Holofcener did a good job of directing, injecting some humor and some really reflective, deeper themes about love and relationships. Sadly, this was one of Gandolfini's best projects as he went against character and beautifully underplays his part so that it feels effortless and natural. Good relationships are rare and deserve protecting.