Opening 19 Dec 2013
Divorced Eve (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) lives with her teen-aged daughter Ellie who is soon to be out of school and off to college. Eve works as a self-employed masseuse. She treats customers in their homes, unloading her massage table and supplies and lugging them from car to doorway and back. A new customer, Marianne (Catherine Keener), is a successful poet; Eve is mightily impressed with the chance to have intimate girlie talks with someone so rich and famous. Parallel to Eve, Marianne is also divorced and living with her college-bound teenaged daughter Tess. Eve falls in love with Albert (James Gandolfini), a divorced man who enjoys the peace and quiet of living alone, saying he’s “tired of being funny.” Then there is Ellie’s needy friend Chloe, who gravitates to Eve, as a surrogate mother. These six very individual characters contribute to an integral plot about falling in love, empty nest syndrome and growing older.
This U.S. film reminded me of Gloria, a prize-winner from Chile, especially one scene in which Eve, Albert, and Ellis meet for dinner with Eve’s ex-husband and his new partner. In both films one participant can barely tolerate the situation, while all others happily eat their food. The films’ similarities prove that human relationships are basically the same everywhere with just a few differences. For example, here, Albert happens to be the ex-husband of Marianne and her bellyaching descriptions of Albert and his incapacities as a spouse are directly opposite to the life Eve experiences with him. Here, people recognize the common good of adapting and carrying on – getting on with it, yes, even realizing that enough has been said. (Becky Tan)