Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Enough Said Is More about Self-Confidence than Dating

Screencapture from FoxSearchlight Enough Said trailer
Before I was divorced, I paid little attention to how the media and the entertainment industry portrayed those who are trying to move on from failed marriages. Now, I see these portrayals in a new light and compare these stories to my experience. So, when Enough Said, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini, showed up on iTunes, I thought it would be interesting to not only look at it from my perspective, but to ask a man what he thought about it. Was it accurate? Was it biased towards a gender? Did it capture what divorcees go through?

"ENOUGH SAID is a sharp, insightful comedy that humorously explores the mess that often comes with getting involved again." - From the official movie site
On the surface, Enough Said is a film about dating after divorce, but it is really a movie about relationships and how people get along or do not as a result of their differences. Its primary message seems to be that women focus on smaller, negative details to the detriment of their relationships, while men concentrate on the bigger picture, sometimes oblivious of the intricacies of interpersonal dynamics. The danger, the narrative goes, is that these minuses escalate into larger concerns and build towards contempt, which results in the downfall of not only marriages, but also new connections.

Sitting side-by-side, notebooks in hand, my significant other and I planned to examine the film from a Mars vs. Venus perspective. However, it soon became clear that we would not clash as a result of our divergent opinions. We both agreed that the protagonist, Eva, played by Louis-Dreyfus, was deeply flawed. It was almost impossible to root for her. Even after being caught in a massive lie, she did little more then say she was sorry. The repair between two minor characters, Eva's best friend and her maid, drew us in more. That was the one relationship—of all in the movie—that looked like it might last.

One thing we did disagree upon was the advice we would give to the main characters if we were their friends. First up is Tom's advice to Albert, and the setting, a fictional night of having a beer at Buffalo Wild Wings. I follow up with what I might say to Eva over a nice glass of Merlot at a local cafe.
  • Manly advice: In general, guys do not give relationship advice to their friends. We assume our buddy knows what he is doing, so the topic is generally avoided. That said, if Albert asked my opinion, I'd tell him: End it and keep it ended (even if she offers a booty call). Eva may be cute and can be fun at times, but Albert puts it exactly right when he says to her (paraphrasing), "I'm too old for his crap." He has been through a divorce, and he is happy and financially secure. Sure, at four years out, he may be looking for a consistent companion to enjoy his fabled spaghetti and eggplant dinners, but the price is too high with Eva. She has been rude to him, insulted him in front of friends, and lied for months on end. To top it off, she does not seem to understand why her lying was wrong. She is doomed to repeat history since she fails to understand or articulate why she did what she did. If he sticks with her, as (spoiler alert) implied, he has no one else to blame but himself for their turbulent future. Being a guy, he would probably take that booty call, though. Oh well.

  • A woman's wisdom: Unlike the boys, we women are happy to give advice on our friend's relationships. The issue with Eva is that the root of all her problems is a lack of self-confidence. She even wants her friends to decide on whether Albert is a guy she should date—it is so obvious that her best friend tries to get out of the role. Most likely, this issue was a big part of Eva's failed marriage, and if she does not address it, a long-term, successful relationship with Albert or anyone else is unlikely. It is nothing a little time in therapy cannot resolve! So, I would sit down with her over that glass of wine and tell her that being a strong, confident woman is the key to happiness—hers, mine and every woman's. Part of this involves letting go of the past, and I would urge her to leave behind the unresolved issues she holds onto from her first marriage. Once she feels better about herself and casts off her excess baggage, she will be so much happier, and ready to handle her relationship with Albert and others.
In the end, if you are looking for an accurate portrayal of post-divorce dating, Enough Said does not say enough. While I cannot recommend the movie (though many do: it has a 96% Tomatometer rating), I do suggest having movie night with your significant other. Just pick something a bit more realistic about relationships, like This is 40.


  1. how cool to compare notes with a guy after watching the movie!!! Sounds like fun. I will try that too

  2. the director of this is 40 was male while the director of enough said was female. do you think there is a reason to believe that that is why one had a different flavor than the other?

  3. That's a great comment and question! I am sure that gender has something to do with it. In general, men seem to focus on events and activities, while women concentrate on emotions and relationships. However, in this case, the former was trying to showcase universal themes and make them funny, while the ladder focused on one woman's particular issues. The marketing department for Enough Said is really at fault because the film was billed as a generic divorcee dating piece, while it really is about one woman's particular issues.