Why Nicole Holofcener Makes Rom-Coms for Everyone
Ever since 1999’s “Walking and Talking” was a breakout hit at the Sundance Film Festival, Nicole Holofcener has been recognized for her ability to construct stories about whip-smart women struggling with relationship problems as well as the ebb and flow of everyday life — in other words, real people. It’s that track record that helped her lure Julia Louis-Dreyfus into the lead role for “Enough Said,” Holofcener’s acclaimed latest project and her first foray into the studio arena (Fox Searchlight financed and released the film).
Despite the tragic timing of its release — months after co-star James Gandolfini’s death — the charm of “Enough Said” hasn’t been shrouded by grief. In addition to showcasing Gandolfini’s warm screen presence, it showcases Holofcener’s ability to turn a sitcom-ready scenario — single massage therapist Eva (Louis-Dreyfus) falls for amiable Albert (Gandolfini) while secretly gleaning information about him from his lonely ex (Catherine Keener) — into a thoughtful rumination on mid-life relationships.
While Eva’s conundrum may echo “Seinfeld”-level awkwardness, it’s hardly a movie about nothing: Holofcener’s ear for ordinary people riddled with doubts and misconceived agendas has yielded another great portrait of life’s little troubles. Holofcener makes movies for everyone.
“I was a mammoth fan of every single one of Nicole’s previous films and very eager to work with her,” Louis-Dreyfus told Indiewire. Indeed, in light of the actress’ history playing less-than-heroic characters on “Seinfeld” and “Veep,” the pairing made sense.
“Most romantic comedies are in the business of wish fulfillment,” producer Anthony Bregman said. “‘Enough Said’ goes the other way, holding up a mirror to the audience and showing us the complex messages of love and relationships.”
For Louis-Dreyfus, the premise provided an opportunity to map out Eva’s decisions on her own terms. “Nicole was extremely collaborative,” she said. “She was happy to dissect the psychological and emotional life of the character.”
Nobody involved in the production could deny that the recognizable faces — with Louis-Dreyfus still reminding some of Elaine Benes and Gandolfini forever remembered as Tony Soprano — ran the risk of distracting from the story. “We had cast these two major TV icons, who were so recognizable from our long relationships with them over many seasons of their shows, and our ongoing concern was that we would have to struggle to believe them in the very different world of our film,” Bregman said. “But they're both such true actors, and Nicole's script and direction is so honest and committed, that Julia and Jim slipped immediately into Eva and Albert. Elaine and Tony never entered the picture.”
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