In writer/director Nicole Holofcener’s (Friends with Money, Lovely & Amazing) latest poignant relationship drama, Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as Eva, a woman whose post-divorce life is as boring as the conversations she’s forced to engage in with her pampered massage-therapy clientele. That is, until she reluctantly goes to a party where she meets Marianne (Catherine Keener), a poet who needs a masseuse, and Albert (James Gandolfini), a man she begins dating based on their mutual experiences of divorce, middle age, and each having a college-bound daughter.
Marianne and Eva become friends and begin verbally unloading about their worries after their massage sessions. Marianne describes her ex-husband with seething specificity, letting loose about every one of his shortcomings as a husband. Meanwhile, Eva and Albert seem to be at the start of something good. The plot twist that follows is painfully obvious, but still hits with deadly accuracy.
The film also follows Eva and Albert’s daughters as they prepare to leave for college. Eva¹s daughter and her best friend (played by Rookie’s Tavi Gevinson, in her feature film debut!) are in search of their independence, while attempting to remain connected at home. Albert’s daughter is in the same boat, but all too ready to jump ship and head to New York.
The late James Gandolfini will break your heart as he lights up the screen in a new and refreshing way. He plays a sexy, funny man whose heart is shredded at the thought of his daughter moving away. And his romance with Julia Louis-Dreyfus will inspire audiences to take a second look at unlikely love.
This review appears in the Oct/Nov 2013 issue of BUST Magazine with cover girl Neko Case. Subscribe Now.
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