As a masseuse dealing with life after divorce and on the cusp of her daughter’s departure for college, Eva’s friends take her to a party in hopes of meeting someone. Though she does meet an interesting woman who she begins to chat up, she appears to be disinterested in the men at the party. She finds herself in a conversation with a man, Albert, who seems to at least be somewhat funny even though she does not find him attractive. Eva reluctantly agrees to go on a date with him but finds herself charmed by his humor and kindness. She avoids the first kiss but leaves the door open for another date. As their relationship slowly blossoms, Eva learns that the woman she met at the party, who she is also now massaging, is Albert’s ex-husband. Caught between her new boyfriend and new friend, she feels unable to tell either of them the truth about her relationship with the other.
Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Eva), Toni Collette (Sarah), Ben Falcone (Will), Catherine Keener (Marianne), James Gandolfini (Albert), Tracey Fairaway (Ellen), Michaela Watkins (Hilary), Phillip Brock (Jason), Christopher Nicholas Smith (Hal), Eve Hewson (Tess), Tavi Gevinson (Chloe)
The romance in this film was clear. Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini had such excellent chemistry that they were about to make their romance feel so natural. It certainly was a shame that he passed away so suddenly, but he left behind a memorable performance. For Louis-Dreyfus, her character felt like a much more enjoyable version of her New Adventure of Old Christine role. While Toni Collette seemed a little rough around the edges, Keener was a great counterpoint to the growing relationship with Gandolfini. The young actresses also provided a fun counterpoint to the conflict for Louis-Dreyfus, Gandolfini, and Keener.
Nicole Holofcener’s fractured love story focused on love later in life and how truly complicated things can get. Eva struggled with some expectation issues in finding a partner but allowed herself to let her guard down enough to give Albert a chance. While she was not physically attracted to him, his humor and personality seemed to really strike a positive chord. The garden party that allowed the two of them to meet also started her relationship with Marianne. Unaware of Albert’s and Marianne’s past relationship (until a pair of meetings with their daughter brought it to light), Eva found herself struggling with whether she could say anything to either of them. She was hearing negatives about both of her new friends, but she seemed to take Marianne’s comments more to heart as a way of protecting herself.
Alongside the love story was the relationship between parents and their children. Tess’s relationship with Marianne and Albert was one that seemed to be at odds with her parents. She had many of the detached traits that teenagers seem to have with their parents, but she also surprised Eva later in the film when she indicated how Albert truly cared for her. As for Eva, she had a tough time between the departure of her daughter and the friendship with Chloe. Ellen was struggling with wanting to give Eva the space needed to prepare for living alone while also wanting for her mother to pay attention to her more than Chloe. Unfortunately for Ellen, Chloe’s relationship with her own mother was somewhat rough, which caused her to feel an attachment (which was reciprocated) by Eva. This eventually led to a confrontation that caused Eva to take a long, hard look at how she was treating her daughter.
This film had a charming feeling, especially with the relationship between Eva and Albert. Their love was one that inspires positive outlooks on finding it later in life.
Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5