Film Review: You Hurt My Feelings – 8/10

You know nice is not a nice word...’

One of the most difficult things about creating anything is that it’s so difficult to receive an honest appraisal of anything. I’ve been writing this blog for years now and while the number of visitors suggests that somebody is reading it, I really have no idea if any of this shit is any good. It could be that the 60 or so people that visit every day are all hate reading my dumb opinions and consider me to be an imbecile. Such is life. You Hurt My Feelings explores what would happen if we were suddenly able to discover what the people closest to us really thought of our life’s work…

Beth (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a published writer currently working on her second novel. Her husband Don (Tobias Menzies) is a therapist who is so checked out of his job that can’t remember which of his patients has the controlling mother and which one has the passive aggressive sister. One fine New York day, Beth is out shopping with her sister Sarah (Michaela Watkins) when they inadvertently overhear Don telling Sarah’s husband Mark (Arian Moayed) that he thinks that Beth’s soon-to-be-published novel is bad. Writer-director Nicole Holofcener explores the ramifications of this confession whilst also commenting on relationships in general.

Do you know what I loved about You Hurt My Feelings? It’s a gentle movie. There are stakes and moments of emotional drama but on the whole the conflict at the heart of the film is something familiar rather than bombastic. That doesn’t make it any less well observed, compelling or effective, however. In many ways, the subplot involving Don’s efforts to improve as a therapist provide the film’s finest moments (his interactions with real life married couple David Cross and Amber Tamblyn are particularly joyous). A subplot involving Beth and Don’s son Eliot (Owen Teague) working in a weed shop and struggling to write a play is perhaps less successful but it all adds to the rich tapestry of a film that is happy to focus on character and relationships rather than plot.

You Hurt My Feelings poses a wonderful hypothetical and the excellent cast bring this scenario to life in a way that feels authentic and captivating. A low key success.

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