Thursday, May 30, 2024

You Hurt My Feelings (2023) Movie Review.

The issues at the heart of You Hurt My Feelings may seem trivial from the outside, but when they do, they are seismic. In particular, it vividly describes the uncertainty that creative people experience when offering something personal to the world. We expose ourselves and invite criticism. It’s certainly a subject Holofcener knows well after 30 years of making films. But it also touches on a broader theme in our tendency not to be brutally honest to avoid hurting someone’s feelings or perhaps to avoid the awkwardness of confrontation. How many times have you told a friend or loved one that you liked their new haircut, or that the meal they cooked was delicious, or that those jeans don’t make your butt look big? It’s just easier. It seems harmless.

“You Hurt My Feelings” explores what can happen if we find out what other people think of us – when people stop being nice and start getting real. And in addition to Louis-Dreyfus, it features a killer cast of supporting players who do great work, including several members of the “Succession” cast.

Beth is a novelist and professor of writing at The New School who has just finished her latest book. As she anxiously awaits feedback from her agent, she confides her concerns in her ever-supportive therapist husband, Don (a lovely Tobias Menzies). But when she overhears him telling someone who actually thinks her new novel is terrible, she’s understandably devastated. Louis-Dreyfus strikes such a tricky balance in the way she plays this moment: Of course there’s humor in it because it’s such an uncomfortable situation, but it also conveys the deep hurt Beth feels inside. Decades of trust disappear with a few words in seconds. It’s a lot to juggle emotionally.

In the inspired cast, Michaela Watkins plays Beth’s younger sister, Sarah. (Watkins also has my favorite line in the entire movie, a sideways swing after eating a Mister Softee ice cream cone: “Well, it wasn’t worth it.”) She’s charming but pragmatic about Beth’s painful realization: Do it all this. . , she said. We all tell these little lies in the name of kindness. When her actor husband (a wonderful Arian Moayed) asks her how his last performance was, she always tells him it was great, whether it was or not. In an amusing twist, Sarah, an interior designer, keeps suggesting light fixtures to her latest client, who politely but firmly reveals that she hates them every time.

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