Pete Hammond

As the end credits began to roll at this afternoon’s Toronto World Premiere of Fox Searchlight‘s romantic comedy Enough Said, two simple words came up in white on the all black background that caused an eruption of applause and cheers in the Elgin Theatre: “For Jim”. Director Nicole Holofcener‘s new film represents the next to last film the late James Gandolfini made before his untimely death earlier this year at the age of 51. And when you see such a different side of him as displayed in this comedic leading role opposite a wonderful Julia Louis-Dreyfus, you once again realize what a tragic loss his early death continues to be.

At a brief post-Q&A Louis-Dreyfus was asked what her fondest memory was of working with Gandofini, with whom she shares many intimate scenes in the film. She got emotional as she struggled to get just the right words out. “Well there are an endless number of fond memories. I have to say watching this right now (choking up) …the last scene was very joyful. There was debate as to how to end the film and when we nailed it we just fell into each other’s arms because we knew it just felt right. That was a great close moment that we all felt, cast and crew together, in that moment,” she said.

Related: R.I.P. James Gandolfini

The cast gathered on the Elgin stage also included Toni Collette and Holofcener muse Catherine Keener, both terrific as friends of the Louis-Dreyfus’ character. Also onstage were Tracey Fairaway who plays her college-age daughter and Tavi Gevinson as her daughter’s best friend (who it seems would rather spend time with her friend’s mother than her own). Holofcener has a knack for this kind of sweetly sophisticated upper middle class comedy set on the Westside of Los Angeles. Clearly she works well with her actors who are all here in Toronto for today’s big unveiling. Holofcener said she’s especially proud of this film because it has – wait for it – a plot, something she says most of her previous films lacked (I might disagree with that). That list includes such critically acclaimed films as Lovely And Amazing, Friends With Money and most recently, the terrific Please Give.

Louis-Dreyfus, who won an Emmy last year for her HBO series Veep and is nominated again this year, said she was drawn to the movie role first by Holofcener’s  script. “It grabbed hold of my heart, the story of this woman who does this horrible, horrible thing but means so well. And I have always been a fan of Nicole Holofcener’s work and jumped at the opportunity to work with her. When we met we felt we had known each other all our lives,” she said.

Related: Unfinished Business: The Projects James Gandolfini Left Behind

My guess is Enough Said, which Fox Searchlight dated only recently and this week moved up by two days to September 18, should get a nice boost out of Toronto and do very well as Fall sets in and adult audiences are looking for a smart comedy. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some awards traction either, perhaps with nominations for both Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini in the lead actress and actor Musical Or Comedy categories at the Golden Globes.  Holofcener’s sharp original script could, with a little luck, be a contender in Best Original Screenplay both at the Oscars and the WGA awards (where her script for Please Give was a 2010 nominee) and at the Independent Spirit Awards where she has seen three of her screenplays land nominations.

Tonight’s World Premiere double feature is The Weinstein Company‘s Mandela: A Long Walk To Freedom and Focus FeaturesDallas Buyers Club, both further promising to heat up this year’s incredibly crowded Best Actor race. More later at this TIFF edition 2013 heats up itself.

Awards Columnist Pete Hammond - tip him here.

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