Film review: Masseuse smooths the path to true romance in Enough Said

Dir. Nicole Holofcener. Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, 93mins (12A)

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The Independent Culture

Nicole Holofcener's latest well-observed and typically deft comedy of manners is a gentle mid-life romance whose bittersweet notes are lent extra poignancy by the fact that it features the late James Gandolfini's last leading-man role.

And while his bear-like physique might make him an unconventional leading man, his relaxed charisma and the amount of warmth and charm that he radiates from the screen is such that we can easily see what petite divorcee Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is attracted to in his character, Albert.

There is a gimmicky premise structuring the story: at the same time that masseuse Eva is getting to know video-librarian Albert, she becomes friends with his bitter ex-wife Marianne (Catherine Keener), and takes advantage of the coincidence by encouraging her to dish the dirt, "like a human TripAdvisor".

But the characters are so naturally rounded and engaging that we hardly notice the plot contrivance. Enough Said doesn't seem like a conventional rom-com at all. For one thing, we don't often see fifty-ish characters falling in love.

And for another, when characters in rom-coms usually fall in love it is suddenly, all-consumingly and as if predestined, rather than here, where love is something unexpected and special and is subject to all of the same complexities and absurdities as the rest of our lives.