I saw Nicole Holofcener‘s Enough Said a couple of hours ago. It’s another myopic, mild-mannered visit with the denizens of Holofcenerland — upscale, educated, liberal-minded 40- and 50-somethings who live west of the 405. It’s a bittersweet experience due to the presence of the late James Gandolfini, whom I’ve long felt a special kinship with (and whose funeral I attended last June in Manhattan), but otherwise it’s basically about how it’s a bad idea for a divorcee (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) to go out with an ex-husband (Gandolfini) of a client she’s getting to know (Catherine Keener) because one way or another the ex-wife is going to list every shortcoming of the ex-husband in spades, and that stuff is toxic, a kind of poison, and it’ll kill the relationship pretty quickly if you let it into your head so you shouldn’t. That’s basically what the film is saying.
When you break up with somebody you have to let that shit go and try to be fair-minded about it. You have to acknowledge the good and the not-so-good and take responsibility for your having been in love with your ex (and for the likely reason that it made a lot of sense to you at the time). Nonetheless post-breakup some women tend to build up a legend in their head that (a) they must have been totally crazy to have fallen in love with their ex! but (b) thank God it’s now over because now they can finally live their lives and maybe find someone who really and truly gets them! I don’t do that or go there. If something has ended I say, “Yup, that happened.” When people ask me about my now-kaput summer thing (which blew up three or four days ago) I say, “It was great, a blessing…a gift that kept on giving for four incredible months.” I could prepare an indictment that would make the ex sound like she’s got some major character issues and then share it with whomever, but I think that’s between her and me and that it should stay there.
Keener as Gandolfini’s resentful ex is a perfect bit of casting. She’s always playing vaguely snippy or haughty bitch types — women with bones to pick, scores to settle, resentments to vent. I haven’t clue #1 about what Keener is like or who she really is deep down, but this general inclination of testiness and contentiousness has come out in too many of her movies for it not to he rooted in some corner of her actual personality.