Sometimes I’ll go ages without seeing a movie, and then suddenly I’ll see a bunch of them at once. The last three weeks were a bit like that, seeing two in that period of time.
I was lucky enough to win a double pass to see James Gandolfini’s last film, Enough Said from Nuffnang, so my mum and I went along a couple of weeks ago to watch it. I’m also a massive Seinfeld fan, and love Julia Louis-Dreyfus (have you seen her in Veep? Freaking hilarious), so I was really looking forward to this screening.
The film tells the story of Eva (Louis-Dreyfus), a divorced massage therapist who is preparing to send her only daughter off to college, and Albert (Gandolfini), a divorced archivist at the Motion Picture museum in LA who also has a daughter leaving for college. The two meet at a party, and immediately admit they aren’t attracted to each other, but Albert asks Eva’s friends for her number. Despite Eva’s reluctance at dating someone she initially doesn’t find physically attractive, she finds herself enjoying Albert’s sweet, simple company and romance blooms. Concurrently, Eva befriends a woman named Marianne and begins working as her massage therapist. As Eva and Albert’s relationship develops, Eva finds herself doubting her feelings for him and their compatibility as a couple when she hears about Marianne’s failed marriage.
The film is a romantic comedy, but the comedy is sweet and subtle. As Eva and Albert explore dating and falling in love as middle-aged adults with baggage from their failed marriages, the comedy gives way to a frankness from each of the characters, shy at first, but honest and open as the relationship progresses. It was great to see Louis-Dreyfus play a character without caricature tendencies – Eva is sweet, if somewhat emotionally clumsy woman who has doubts about dating Albert, but loneliness gives way to hope as she begins to like him more and more. Gandolfini was like a teddy bear in this film. Sweet and unsure, but determined to try and please Eva without being obvious about it. The pairing of the two actors seems unlikely, but ultimately works as the characters relax around each other.
Enough Said is a really nice movie, and it’s quite bittersweet watching Gandolfini and knowing it was his last role – the potential he had as an actor for these kinds of roles was unexpected but so enjoyable to watch.
Austenland is showing at The Como in Toorak as part of the British film festival. Based on the 2007 novel by Shannon Hale, and starring Keri Russell, who I’ve been a fan of since her Felicity days (also, she kicks some serious ass on The Americans), the film follows die-hard Jane Austen fan Jane Hayes (Russell) as she spends her life savings on a trip to Austenland, a Jane Austen themed holiday estate where guests get to live, dress, eat, sleep and breathe a 19th century Jane Austen inspired lifestyle alongside the actors who are hired to give guests their ultimate Austen fantasy.
Co-starring Bret McKenzie, Jennifer Coolidge and Jane Seymour, the film is a sweet story that has you rooting for Jane Hayes from the beginning. Despite an inauspicious start to her holiday (due to her purchase of the meagre basic Austenland package), Jane begins to find her feet, and her sharp tongue, as she vacations alongside handsome actors who do everything possible to fullfil her Mr Darcy fantasy. However, a budding romance with the cute stable hand (McKenzie) sets Jane’s heart aflutter, and she finds herself stealing away from the mansion more and more to spend time with him.
This film is a sweet story that draws you in from the beginning, and Russell plays the wide-eyed innocent Austen fan perfectly. At first I wasn’t thrilled at seeing Jennifer Coolidge on screen straight away, but thankfully the writers kept her role to a supporting one, and so she added some pep to the environment as the brash, crude American looking for some 19th century muscle to snuggle up to. Russell and Coolidge play their parts perfectly, and the supporting cast add some cheeky comedy to quite a simple story.
Austenland is perfect for a girl’s night out. It’s sweet, funny and a solid rom-com performer. I highly recommend it.
Seen anything good lately at the movies? I’d love to hear about it!
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