Writer/director Nicole Holofcener has reunited with Julia Louis-Dreyfus ten years after the incredible Enough Said with another smartly-written comedy in You Hurt My Feelings. In it, Louis-Dreyfus plays Beth, a novelist and creative writing teacher struggling to write her new book. Her husband, Don (Tobias Menzies), praises her book as solid, but Beth has a hard time believing in herself and the supporting comments she receives from him.
One day, Beth and her sister, Sarah (Michaela Watkins), see Don and Sarah’s husband, Mark (Arian Moayed), discuss Beth’s writing, with him secretly admitting to Mark that he wasn’t a fan of her latest work. This causes a rift in their marriage and the basis of the plot for the rest of the movie. This also affects Don’s work ethic. As a therapist, his relationship with his patients takes a nosedive, and he has difficulty helping anyone with their problems (even himself) as Beth distances herself from him.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus Is Sensational in You Hurt My Feelings
This movie wouldn’t have worked without solid performances from everyone involved. Thankfully, Julia Louis-Dreyfus leads the film with gusto and delivers one of the very best portrayals of her career, on par with her sensational turn in Holofcener’s Enough Said. In You Hurt My Feelings, her character goes through a lot as her relationship with her husband complicates itself. This complexity allows Holofcener, Louis-Dreyfus, and Menzies to draw in a lot of cringe inside its humor that you cannot help but laugh at.
However, in those cringeworthy moments, Holofcener reveals the complexities of being human and showcases how we would rather say that everything is great to someone to encourage them instead of facing them with their actual feelings. Menzies is great at playing a character who wants to tell her wife that everything is fine, but his poker face absolutely doesn’t help. In that sheer embarrassment lies a rather sad character who isn’t confident in his own self that he would rather lie to his wife than share what he feels. Watching this comedy of errors unfold is compelling, especially regarding Sarah and Mark’s relationship.
Arian Moayed and Michaela Watkins Are At Their Most Open
It is funny how Moayed and Watkins’ storylines closely mirror what Louis-Dreyfus and Menzies are going through. During the movie, Holofcener ensures that audiences understand how much time Beth spends with her sister, and the two form one of the most compelling arcs of the entire film because, exactly like Don and Mark, tell things that their respective husbands shouldn’t know. And when Sarah returns to her husband, she pretends everything is fine.
It’s exactly what Don is doing, but it’s frighteningly what many humans do to their significant others and family members. Who accidentally dropped something and didn’t want their parents to find out (even if they heard a large noise)? That’s right. Everyone probably experienced this in their lifetimes. And if you say “not me,” I don’t believe you. Whose parents weren’t over-supportive of their child’s talents, even if they believed they were not very good at whatever sport or activity they were doing? It didn’t much matter when you were a kid because you had at least your mom or dad supporting and encouraging you no matter what.
In You Hurt My Feelings, Holofcener shows all those moments and insecurities as a natural part of our lives. We can be embarrassed by them, but we’ve all experienced them. Holofcener doesn’t give audiences an answer to why humans are the way they are in their interactions with others because it’ll always be this way. There is no human being on this planet who was not over-supportive towards someone if he had some affection towards them. That’s what we always do, and that’s what we’ll always do.
Holofcener showcases these moments through a brilliant script and impeccable performances from all its actors (even minor supporting turns from David Cross, Amber Tamblyn, and Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s Zach Cherry are incredible). The ending does drag a bit and loses the momentum the first two acts brought. However, when the film’s core is so strong, one can’t complain. You Hurt My Feelings is one of the funniest and most thought-provoking movies of the year, led by a striking Julia Louis-Dreyfus who continues to prove how great she is as an actor when the script is so terrific. Do yourself a favor and see this movie as soon as it opens near you.
The film is currently playing in select theatres, with a wide expansion planned for June 2 in most areas.
For more Reviews, make sure to check back to That Hashtag Show.