Being middle-aged and on a first date can be rough.
I mean, you don't want to be self-conscious or overly shy. On the other hand, you don't want to be obnoxiously self-possessed and brash. And there's nothing like a few too many forced jokes to spoil an evening.
Eva and Albert expect all of those things to haunt their first evening together when they accidentally meet at a friend's party. But they seem to share a natural connection … which leads to a dinner together full of relaxed chitchat.
Both are divorced. Both are parents. Both are naturally funny. Albert's a hefty, self-acknowledged slob—but a normal, disorganized one, not a dirty, disgusting one. Eva's a masseuse—the have portable table, will travel type.
Oh, have I forgotten to mention something important? Yes, indeed. Back at that party where Eva and Albert first met, Eva also met a woman named Marianne. She's a poet, and the two women hit it off straightaway. Eva gave Marianne her card. And Marianne promptly called her to get a massage.
Marianne is divorced, too, and the ladies become fast friends as they share intimate details about their lives, making all kinds of snide comments about their horrible exes.
The name of Marianne's ex? Albert.
The film does a great job of pointing out that it's OK to be flawed. (And that's something we all need to hear from time to time as we grapple with guilt and the past.) It makes the case that for all of our imperfections, love can comfort, heal and find a way to bind us together.
Eva and Albert both have daughters they love dearly. In fact, Albert reports that he is hurt most by Eva when she does something that makes him look foolish in front of his daughter.
Eva overhears her daughter's teen friend Chloe worrying about whether or not to share her first sexual experience with a boyfriend. Eva quickly chips in her opinion that "you can't live your life in fear," encouraging the girl to throw caution to the wind. Chloe later reports that she did indeed follow through, saying, "I'm glad I got it over with."
And the movie takes that casual tack with all things sexual. Doing the deed is inevitable, it asserts, everybody's gonna do it, no big deal, get it over with. Eva hesitates to even kiss Albert on their first date—but by their second meeting they land in bed. We see them there on repeated occasions, sometimes with them wearing T-shirts and shorts, other times naked while obviously having sex with the covers pulled up.
There are conversations about fake breasts, the lack of sex with ex-spouses, and Eva's male customers becoming aroused during a massage. Eva's daughter reports that a friend was part of a sexual threesome. Albert accidentally exposes himself to Eva. A teen girl catches two partially dressed (unmarried) adults lounging together in bed.
Women's outfits reveal cleavage. Eva is derisively called a "dyke."
Crude or Profane Language
One f-word. Six or eight s-words. One or two uses each of "h‑‑‑" and "a‑‑," and two or three of "b‑‑ch." God's name is misused at least 20 times (once with "d‑‑n"), and Jesus' is misused three times.
Drug and Alcohol Content
At a party and at a couple of smaller gatherings Albert, Eva and her friends drink wine and mixed drinks. Eva and Albert share champagne mimosas at brunch. After a few too many glasses of wine, Eva chuckles, "I like being drunk."
Other Negative Elements
This is the last film made by actor James Gandolfini before his untimely death in 2013. It is a well-constructed, smart and funny romantic comedy. It's a film that creatively airs out the dirty laundry of life: the tough, back-hair-covered, warts-and-all aspects of those thorny interactions we call relationships. It's about hurting people, lonely people, people who want to be loved, people who long to find the right stuff in a world that's more messed up than made up.
It's also a film that doesn't really take the mire we walk through quite seriously enough. It readily accepts that being divorced and having one or two marriages under your belt is pretty much a given and good enough. For everybody. And sex? We're told that whether you're a teen, parent or gramps, you ought to push toward that part of a budding relationship as soon as possible because you can never get to it fast enough.
And is that really enough?
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Eva; James Gandolfini as Albert; Catherine Keener as Marianne; Toni Collette as Sarah
Nicole Holofcener (Friends With Money)
September 18, 2013
January 14, 2014