You Hurt My Feelings

  • 19 Aug - 25 Aug, 2023
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

Can love be expressed through lying? When confronted with the uncomfortable reality, fragile egos in Nicole Holofcener's razor-sharp comedy crumble. With her Enough Said director by her side once more, Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Beth, a writer in a strong relationship with therapist Don (Tobias Menzies). Even their 23-year-old son Elliott (Owen Teague) grimaces when he sees the two of them eating a single peanut-butter ice cream because they are still infuriatingly in love. She tells Don in a joyful tone while still in the pink bubble she and Don had created for themselves. "We're so lucky," she says. However, Beth learns via her sister that her husband doesn't genuinely think the book she's now writing is particularly good while they are visiting a sports goods store. Their relationship of trust is broken, shattering her world, and an existential question regarding her writing ability is raised. You Hurt My Feelings is infused with raw honesty in all of its forms. Importantly, Beth and Don both work in professions that require them to prod the truth from others they attempt to assist. When teaching writing workshops at The New School, Beth commends her pupils for finding inspiration in horrific experiences, but Don's therapy sessions show that he finds it difficult to help his patients make any progress. The best course of action is presumably to be honest, but when approached by people who are more direct, they mistake candour for rudeness, as is the case with a client of Don's who is unduly critical. They don't even begin to think about the possibility that they might be the issue. The screenplay by Holofcener, which is so clever and perceptive that even when the tale tackles some of its more implausible scenes, the behavioural peculiarities they arouse feel palpably real, is the film's main asset. Scenes frequently start in the middle of a discussion, as if you were listening in on a passerby on the street, but Holofcener's characters are so well-developed that you can quickly catch up with them. The author-director also touches on the anxieties we face every day. Do our loved ones truly care about us all the time, or do they merely say what we want to hear? The question is, "The world is imploding, and this is what's consuming you?" Don once queries Beth. However, it seems sense that such low-stakes conundrums feel catastrophic. The movie's title, which is almost childlike, illustrates how a betrayal makes Beth her most vulnerable. We all merely want to be liked, which is a simple but universal goal. Can You Ever Forgive Me? and The Last Duel are just two examples of how Holofcener consistently excels at evoking empathy from even the most abrasive of characters. In You Hurt My Feelings, she accomplishes this by addressing a universal theme. Although the truth certainly does hurt, the film's analysis of how people tend to their wounds is what gives it such a rich and vibrant quality. An intimate betrayal is turned into an instructive case study of moral uprightness by Nicole Holofcener. A wonderful, funny, and incredibly real movie about the inherent contradictions we refuse to accept.