You Hurt My Feelings Movie Review: New Nicole Holofcener Film Mines the Self-Conscious Tendencies of Making Art

You Hurt My Feelings Stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tobias Menzies and is Directed by Nicole Holofcener

Review: You Hurt My Feelings is a movie tearing apart the artistic complex. A film that questions whether professionals can have their lives figured out in the twenties or thirties. It’s honest and personal, as if Nicole Holofcener is using Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a stand in for directors and creatives everywhere.

You Hurt My Feelings Nicole Holofcener review
You Hurt My Feelings, A24

You Hurt My Feelings succeeds by inflicting deeply personal and honest anecdotes of interactions between people in a relationship. Nicole Holofcener crafts a movie that feels fully realized, unaffected by common storytelling tropes or narrative twists and turns. It’s not twee or acidic, rather working in a gray area between the two that is both cozy and distancing, warm and cold.

This can only be accomplished by performances that are as personal and authentic as the story itself. Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as the self-conscious writer Beth, who is trying to capitalize on the middling success of her memoir by publishing her first work of fiction. She instills in her character the same unsureness and self-effacing tendencies that you would see in a mother questioning her parenting style or a significant other examining their own relationship.

Both of these come into fold when she overhears a conversation by her husband Don (Tobias Menzies in an intentionally faceless performance that feels both aloof and estranged in equal doses) exclaiming his distaste for Beth’s new novel. This shatters Beth, who’s convinced she can’t trust anything her husband says anymore. We’re stuck playing a he said, she said game after this, ultimately understanding both sides of the picture while admitting the two are surprisingly mediocre at conversing with one another despite years of being married.

Reviews for Films like You Hurt My Feelings (2023)

And despite Don being a professional therapist, although you wouldn’t get the sense he’s a very successful one judging by the various sessions he’s having that are stitched in between plot points within You Hurt My Feelings. The movie is overwhelmingly about adults far along in their careers struggling with whether they’ve achieved what they hoped for. Don has the most stable job, banking on session fees to provide for his family. Even that comes into question during moments of passive aggressiveness from his patrons.

You Hurt My Feelings is thematically dense, working to untangle the cause of occupational and societal uncertainty. Beth juggles the life of a modest writer, mother, and daughter. Julia Louis-Dreyfus gives an empathic performance, allowing you to seep into the hilariously dark, despondent streets of New York City. Nicole Holofcener’s take on the city isn’t nearly as angry as the likes of Noah Baumbach, but it’s not too much unlike that same tone.

It’s compelling, from a script full of jabs and worthy comedic moments, to purposefully unsure conversations that question Beth or Don’s ability to continue the life they’re living. You’ll see many movies in your life trying to achieve the same effect that You Hurt My Feelings does, but most of them fail because of an inability to be vulnerable and personable. This one gets it. I liked it.

Best New Movie

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

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You Hurt My Feelings Movie Cast and Credits

You Hurt My Feelings movie poster

Cast:

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Beth

Tobias Menzies as Don

Michaela Watkins as Sarah

Arian Moayed as Mark

Owen Teague as Eliot

Amber Tamblyn as Carolyn

David Cross as Jonathan

Zach Cherry as Jim

Jeannie Berlin as Georgia

Crew:

Director: Nicole Holofcener

Writer: Nicole Holofcener

Cinematography: Jeffrey Waldron

Editor: Alisa Lepselter

Composer: Michael Andrews

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