September 19th, 2013
05:55 PM ET
One of James Gandolfini's final roles is now playing in select theaters, and according to critics it shouldn't be missed.
Not just because "Enough Said" is one of our last opportunities to see new work from the actor, who suddenly passed away at age 51 in June, but because it also happens to be a fine, fine performance.
Written and directed by Nicole Holofcener ("Lovely & Amazing," "Friends with Money"), "Enough Said" stars Julia Louis Dreyfus as a divorced single mother and masseuse who's preparing to send her college-aged daughter off to campus. She's fairly resolutely single until she meets Gandolfini's gentle TV historian, Albert, who also happens to be a divorced single parent with a college-aged daughter of his own.
You can see where that's going - yes, the two will begin to date - but the plot isn't what matters, The New Yorker says in its review.
"What matters is Gandolfini, whose languid, burry diction and Buddha-like poise set the simplest lines and deeds spinning with life-worn worlds of feeling," the magazine's Richard Brody writes. "His warmth, vitality, and humor dominate the film and are its raison d’être."
Time magazine agrees that while "Enough Said" is "more knowing and deep than most romantic comedies, it’s particularly resonant mainly because of Gandolfini’s vivid and bittersweet presence."
That isn't meant to give Louis-Dreyfus the short shrift, though, as many observers have praised the actress for bringing a vulnerability and humor to her role.
"On first viewing," Salon's Andrew Andrew O'Hehir says, "I conclude that 'Enough Said' is irresistible, and demands a second (and third) viewing right away."
To hear his co-star, Louis-Dreyfus, tell it, "Enough Said" might even offer a window into who Gandolfini was off-screen as well.
"I really wish that he was sitting next to me to talk about this film," the actress told CNN at the Toronto Film Festival this month. "This is an amazing part of his legacy. For people to be able to see this performance, which was so very real and small and heartbreaking and really close to who he, James, was as a human being himself."
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