Every Nicole Holofcener Movie Ranked
Director of six feature films and writer of a couple more, Nicole Holofcener made a name for herself after being a student of Martin Scorsese himself. Naturally, it’d be hard for someone not to be an excellent and notable filmmaker after studying under one of the all-time greats. Still, her movies are pretty different from the ones that Scorsese tends to be drawn to—hers are quiet, understated, and put the spotlight on strong female characters. Similar to Scorsese, Nicole Holofcener has been met with plenty of positivity whenever she releases a new feature. She hasn’t won an Oscar yet, but that doesn’t mean that she isn’t capable of scoring one sooner rather than later — one of her movies racked up plenty of award nominations and another is sure to do the same once the 91st Oscars roll around.
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
One of two films Holofcener worked on in 2018, Can You Ever Forgive Me? tells the story of an author who could never make it as a writer… so she decides to start forging letters from other (more famous) authors. Melissa McCarthy gives a career-best performance in the film, while director Marielle Heller continues to prove herself to be one of the most dynamic new voices — but it’s Holofcener’s script that holds the whole thing together.
The film that shot Holofcener into the stratosphere, Enough Said stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini (in one of his final roles) as a middle-aged couple trying to find love as two divorced adults. This one is all Holofcener — she wrote and directed the thing, proving herself as a serious filmmaker with very real potential. It remains her strongest directorial effort to date.
Walking and Talking
While Enough Said might have made Holofcener a mainstream filmmaker, Walking and Talking established her as an important and buzzworthy independent filmmaker. With the help of actress Catherine Keener, someone who appears often in Holofcener’s films, the pair managed to make a movie that shines brightly and feels deep. It set the bar high for the filmmaker, but she never failed to raise it over and over again after the release of the film.
Lovely & Amazing
Holofcener’s 2001 film about a mother and her three daughters deals with self-esteem and insecurity in a loving and compassionate way. It’s informative and enlightening and personal, to be sure, but it’s also an all-around important piece of work from Holofcener. It’s both serious and funny, both cheery and gloomy, both lovely and amazing — just like the title suggests.
Just a few years before Enough Said, Nicole Holofcener wrote and directed a film called Please Give. Again starring Keener, the movie is a stunning and honest look at life. Like her other work, the film is both grim and humorous — its a theme that the filmmaker often circles back to without fail.
Friends With Money
Starring Jennifer Aniston, Catherine Keener, Joan Cusack, and Frances McDormand, Friends With Money was never not going to be at least watchable based solely on its stellar cast. They have a lot of good material to work with because of Holofcener’s script, and the four of them are excellently directed by the one who understands the script the best. It’s not as solid or as impactful as the five films above this one, but it’s still got enough to keep you entertained throughout.
The Land of Steady Habits
The second of two films Holofcener worked on in 2018, The Land of Steady Habits is based on a novel by the same name. As a result (as is the case with many movies based on novels), the film struggles to connect as well as many of her other works. Many details that are surely present in the book are absent in the film, leaving many characters feeling flat instead of Holofcener’s typically deep and fleshed-out characters. Still, Ben Mendelsohn and Connie Britton and Edie Falco are great performers and manage to elevate the film to something better than it could have been.
Every Secret Thing
Unlike Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which sees Holofcener serving as a writer and not the director to great success, Every Secret Thing fails to connect on the same level that most of Holofcener’s movies do. It’s very possible she did away with the script because she wasn’t pleased with it or because she didn’t feel it would work — for whatever reason, Holofcener is not attached to the project beyond its script and the film is not nearly as good as the rest of her filmography for that very reason.