One of the best movies of the year: a sharply written romantic comedy starring two beloved tv stars, sadly, one we are still mourning.
This is a bittersweet movie in more ways than one. In one of his last performances ever, as a romantic lead, the late James Gandolfini plays Albert: a sweet; self-deprecating; loving ; divorced middle-aged dad who begins a romance with Eva, a sassy divorced mom who makes her living as an L.A. masseuse. The two bond over their divorces and their status as soon-to-be empty nesters.
As their relationship deepens, so does Eva’s friendship with one of her clients, a self-involved stylish Bohemian, played by Catherine Keener (Marianne). Marianne just can’t shut up about her ex-husband, who we soon learn is Albert, Eva’s very new love. Unfortunately, Eva doesn’t tell either one of them. Instead, she sopps up Marianne’s toxic sharing, encouraging it , thus endangering her new love life.
Among the subplots: Eva dreads her daughter leaving for college. Like her romance, Eva’s relationship with daughter Ellen (Tracey Fairaway) is also complicated by a third person: Ellen’s needy bff, Chloe (a compelling Tavi Gevinson). Meanwhile, Albert’s snobby, dislikeable daughter is played by Eva Hewson, Bono’s daughter. Yes, as in U2’s Bono, who has every reason to be proud.
The unlikely pairing of Gandolfini (as we’ve never seen him ) and Louis-Dreyfuss, as an older version of “Seinfeld’s” Elaine is spot on. Each show a range undiscovered on their tv shows.
Kudos on so many levels to writer- Director Nicole Holofcenter, who could be L.A’s female version of Woody Allen. This is exactly what an adult romcom should be: smart, funny and pretty much real. These characters speak real-talk, not one-liners. It’s an absolute gem. You’ll miss James Gandolfini even more .