A Psychiatrist Goes to The Movies

A Psychiatrist Goes To The Movies


Title: Enough Said

Writer: Nicole Holofcener

Director: Nicole Holofcener

Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as Eva, James Gandolfini as Albert, Katherine Keener as Marianne ands Toni Collette as Sarah


I want to warn you that this is a spoiler review. The purpose of this review is not to preserve the excitement of not knowing the ending but rather an effort at helping you to understand what the psychological issues are that emerge in this film. The review will be described in two parts. The first part is an amateur’s opinion on the quality of the film and the degree to which I think people will enjoy it. For this I will give a 1 to 10 ranking. This movie is for people who enjoy a romantic comedy. It is a unique romantic comedy because it unites two people who are unlikely to fall in love. I believe the acting by James Gandolfini(Albert) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Eva) with supporting roles played by Katherine Keener(Marianne) and Toni Collette (Sarah) are excellent. In fact, I liked all the supporting roles in the movie. I liked the plot. It was easy to follow and moved smoothly. Some people might say that the movie was a little slow, but I did not find it that way. As a movie for entertainment I would rate it an 8.


The plot is about two middle-aged divorced people, Eva and Albert, who fall love. Some of the scenes are very sweet and some are sad. The dialogue is clever and often very funny. Both Eva and Albert have teenage daughters who are going off to college in the Fall. They each have difficulty with separating from their children. Eva is a masseuse who visits homes and has interesting and funny experiences. Albert is a television historian in what does not seem to be an interesting job. There are stumbling blocks in their romantic relationship but it all winds up with a happy ending.


However it is not the entertainment value of this movie that makes it wonderful. There are classic themes that are played out in this movie in a very satisfying way. The first one is when we form a permanent relationship, we do not pick by mistake. “We unconsciously go out and seek somebody so we can recreate with that person a relationship that is similar in part to the relationship we had with the parent or the parents of conflict for purposes of fixing our childhood and correcting early traumas.” Good luck! That means we pick a fixer-upper and then proceed to try to change that person. That is not possible. This can lead to anger and conflict and can, and often does, threaten the viability of the relationship. Eva falls in love with Albert and Albert falls in love with Eva. We do not select consciously but we do veto consciously. Sometimes we are drawn to someone unconsciously but then certain physical features or behaviors turn us off.


In this case the limerence or in-love state caused Eva to overlook at first all of Albert’s shortcomings. That is, until Albert’s ex-wife, Marianne, who befriended Eva kept poisoning the well. Marianne did not know that Eva was dating her ex-husband. There is a powerful scene where Albert confronts Eva in front of Marianne and Marianne’s daughter, Tess. Albert says to Eva. “It sounds so old fashioned but you broke my heart.” He tells her that she let Marianne poison their relationship and ruin it. He tells her she humiliated him in front of his daughter. There is a scene where Eva tries to makeup with Albert but she can’t. At the very end Eva drives by Albert’s house. She parks across the street and he comes out. He invites Eva to sit next to him on the porch. They talk a little awkwardly and then probably the most important thing in the movie happens. Albert turns to Eva and says, “The good thing is that I bought two new side tables for my bedroom.” Eva says, “That’s great. Did you really do it.”Albert says, “No.” This breaks the ice. Mary says, “That’s good.” They laugh and get close. That is the end of the movie.


The reason this is significant is that earlier in the movie when they were forming their relationship Eva tells Albert she knits and asks him, “Do you have a hobby? She wants him to have a hobby. He says, “Yes.” He tells her he basket weaves and his work is in the garage. She says, “Do you really?” He says  “No.”  They laugh and get close. In both these cases she accepts Albert for who he is.


So what is the main theme of thismovie. To say it in one word, it is acceptance. We are always ambivalent in all relationships. We are not looking for Mr. or Ms. Wonderful. We are looking for Mr. or Ms. Good Enough. What we need to do in all relationships is to accept who the other person is and accepthim or her for exactly who he or she is. So do not try to change one hair on his or her head. If we can’t accept the person we fell in love with, there is something wrong with us not them.


If you can’t work it out on your own, don’t get a divorce or break up the relationship.People don’t marry by mistake, they divorce by mistake! The divorce rate in Southern California is 75%. The other 25% are not living happily ever after. The reasons are because we do not have the skill of the Dialogue of Intimacy to work it out and we do not have the knowledge of what the unconscious underlying issues are. See a qualified couples therapist. For people in Southern California there is a list of qualified and certified couples and sex therapist on the AACAST.net website. Look under referrals.


I wish you peace and happiness. Peace is having no psychic or physical pain and happiness is being satisfied with what you have.


Walter E. Brackelmanns M.D.