Directed by Nicole Holofcener, this is a light comedy drama about a middle aged divorced woman called Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) facing an empty nest as her daughter about to go off to college. She meets sweet but not conventionally attractive Albert (James Gandolfini) at a party and strikes up a slightly uncertain romance.
At the same time she takes on a new massage client Marianne (Catherine Keener) who herself is divorced. Her friendship with Marianne grows but her stories about her ex-husband begin to threaten Eva’s own new relationship.
I very much liked that this film focused on middle aged people’s relationships. Being unsure about your feelings towards another person and having awkward first dates are not reserved only for teenagers and twentysomethings.
Not only that, the focus is on divorcees specifically which adds a different dynamic to the relationships. Although divorce is treated as a fact of life and a source of some antagonism, it’s not insurmountable baggage.
A slightly more common theme in film is those final weeks before someone goes off to college. We see it in “Lady Bird”, “The Kids Are All Right”, “Twentieth Century Women” and many more. Here the kids in question serve as a reminder to their parents that life keeps moving on and it’s ok to look for happiness.
They also remind the parents that although new relationships can be exciting and messy and fun, they’re too old to play games and go through heartbreak. Life is too short for that.
The impending empty nests also show an approaching loneliness. For those without wider families, being a part of a meaningful relationship becomes even more important. Which is why friendship is also a strong theme.
Eva has a new friendship with Marianne which hits the rocks at a key point. To balance the trope of women falling out with each other in film, Eva also has a long time best friend Sarah (Toni Collette) who she video chats with most days and they share thanksgiving together. Sarah has her own relationship issues but as a pair, Eva and Sarah are relaxed in each other’s presence, loving and open.
An unshaken female friendship like this is a beautiful thing to behold on screen as it is sadly quite rare.
After Eva’s actions are revealed her life implodes. While what she did went a fraction too far I felt like Eva received rather too much blame for her downfall. Her actions were entirely understandable and she didn’t deserve the strength of the fallout she got.
But overall the warm tone of the film left with me with a feeling of hope. That it’s ok to say how you feel about others, be open to correction and accept the changing nature of relationships. If you don’t want to play games you don’t have to but you’re never too old for a fresh start.
The writer-director, Nicole Holofcener also wrote the screenplay for the wonderful “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (2018) as well as directing a number of television shows.
She also collaborated with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon on the script for “The Last Duel” (release date TBC), the rape revenge drama we await with some nervousness. Having seen “Enough Said” though I am slightly more hopeful that our worst fears about that film may not be realised.
Hi, I'm Caz. I live in Edinburgh and I watch a lot of films. My reviews focus mainly on women in film - female directors or how women are represented on screen.