Reviewed by: Leonard Capobianco
difficulties of being a single parent
empty nest / a parent dreading her daughter’s impending departure for college
What does it mean to be “the husband of one wife”? Answer
the mess that often comes with getting romantically involved again
Julia Louis-Dreyfus … Eva
James Gandolfini … Albert
Toni Collette … Sarah
Catherine Keener … Marianne
Tavi Gevinson … Chloe
Lennie Loftin … Martin (Massage Client)
Jessica St. Clair … Cynthia (Massage Client)
Chris Smith … Hal (Massage Client)
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|Director||Nicole Holofcener—“Lovely & Amazing,” “Please Give,” “Friends with Money”|
Fox Searchlight Pictures
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|Distributor||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
Empty guns firing empty bullets. This film is tauted as a romantic comedy, but the laughs and the romance are paper thin. Hollywood is consistent in producing another superficial film about a superficial relationship.
This was James Gandolfini’s next-to-last film before he died of a heart attack. Too bad. He was an excellent actor, and I wish he could have left better final work.
Gandolfini plays Albert, an affable divorced single parent who shares custody of his daughter. Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Eva another divorced single parent.
Gandolfini is a much better actor than Dreyfus, and she ends up looking miscast. There appears to be no real chemistry between the two.
Both Albert and Eva are empty nesters. Their daughters are going off to college. Eva is sending her daughter to Sarah Lawrence College—that fortress of morality. (“For many years, the College has been considered as being at the vanguard of the sexual rights movement.” —Wikipedia) So what does that tell you about her.
Eva’s daughter has a friend who believes Eva has good parental advice and so asks if she should “go all the way” with a boy. Eva’s advice?… “Do what you feel is right, dear.” Wow, great wisdom to impart on a 16 year old.
My boyfriend wants to have sex. I don’t want to lose him. What should I do? Answer
Eva befriends Mariane, played by Catherine Keener. Marianne seems to have her life together as a poet living in a nice house. But she has the unpleasant trait of constantly “ragging” on her ex-husband.
***SPOILER*** Eva (Louis-Dreyfus) becomes romantically involved with Albert (Gandolfini), and it turns out he is Marianne’s ex. Eva seems to enjoy her relationship with Albert, but Marianne’s complaints about him begin to taint the relationship—even though neither Marianne or Albert know Eva is a mutual friend. ***END SPOILER***
In Matthew 7:24 Jesus warns us not to build our house on sand. Eva and Albert’s relationship does just that. There is sex between them, and they go out to dinner and laugh a lot together, but the relationship is so superficial—nothing more in common than being divorced and having daughters going away to college. Their conversations have no real substance, except to lament their former spouses and losing their children—and control of their children.
Albert and Eva’s having sex and going out to dinner together seems to be writer/director Nicole Holofcener’s vision of a “funny touching romance,” as the advertising states. I never heard either Albert or Eva say they admired or respected one another. At one point Eva says Albert’s “OKAY.” From Albert, we never hear that Eva is “far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her… She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue… a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31).
So the question remains, how can two people truly get along unless they have mutual respect and mutual beliefs? Where is their anchor? For Christian couples, the anchor is faith—a shared belief in Christ. So when they build their house together on that rock of ages, when the rain falls, the floods come, and the winds blow, their house will not fall.
But Albert and Eva’s house is built on sand. When the rain falls, the winds blow and the floods come, great will be its fall (Matthew 7:24-27).
I must be fair to non-followers of Christ. If the shallow type of relationship put forward in this film is what you want, then Albert and Eva is what you get. But if you want to have deep and true love based on admiring your partner’s character and morals—based on substance, personal commitment, mutual faith—then would you want Albert and Eva as your role model?
Violence: None / *Profanity: Heavy—“Oh my G*d” (17), “God” (7), “My G*d” (5), “Oh G*d” (4), “Jesus,” “Jesus Christ,” “Oh Jesus,” “G*d d*mn,” “Swear to G*d,” “hell,” f-word (1), s-words (9), and various vulgar sexual references including “boner,” “hole,” “boobs,” “ass” / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.