You Hurt My Feelings (2023)
December 29, 2023 12:23 AM - Subscribe

A novelist's longstanding marriage is suddenly upended when she overhears her husband giving his honest reaction to her latest book.

From acclaimed filmmaker Nicole Holofcener comes a sharply observed comedy about a novelist whose long standing marriage is suddenly upended when she overhears her husband give his honest reaction to her latest book. A film about trust, lies, and the things we say to the people we love most.

Wendy Ide: The perceptive, wry dramas of Nicole Holofcener (Friends With Money) tend to share a similar approach. She chips away at the structural integrity of relationships, injects a needling doubt into the comfortable certainties of her upper-middle-class milieu, sits back and lets her characters tie themselves into knots. Modest in scope and saddled with an unfortunate, simpering score, You Hurt My Feelings lacks some of the bracing bite of her previous films, but it’s honest, acute and relatable.

Iana Murray:

The strength of the film lies in Holofcener’s screenplay, so witty and insightful that even when the story broaches some of its more unbelievable moments, the behavioural quirks they incite feel palpably real. Scenes often begin in the middle of a conversation — as if you’re eavesdropping on a passerby on the street — and yet the characters Holofcener has created are so fully realised that it takes no time to catch up with them.

The writer-director also taps into our everyday anxieties. Are our loved ones always sincere with us, or are they just saying what we want to hear? “The world is falling apart and this is what’s consuming you?” Don asks Beth at one point. But we can understand that such low-stakes dilemmas feel apocalyptic. The film’s title is an almost childish expression — but it reflects how such a betrayal reduces Beth to her most vulnerable. It’s a naive but ubiquitous desire: we all just want to be liked.

Sara Michelle Fetters: You Hurt My Feelings lives up to its title. This is cringe comedy in the best of ways. I became increasingly anxious as I watched the film, my heart rate accelerating to the point I was nearly out of breath during critical junctures. The moment in which Eliot bares his soul to his parents — as he reveals hard truths every kid has thought but few have ever said aloud — shook me senseless. Another scene where Beth and Don realize how poorly they’ve remained intimately connected over the years while discussing anniversary gifts is hysterically heartbreaking, while a quiet moment between Sarah and Mark — when the latter is at his most nakedly vulnerable — brought tears to my eyes.

But there is catharsis and understanding to be found in this suffering. It’s not as if everyone is going to suddenly live their life spouting only truth and being bluntly honest with their loved ones, and that’s as it should be. But what is learned is that white lies, no matter how well-intentioned, can still hurt like the dickens; that concealing truths, no matter how painful, can unintentionally leave lasting scars; and that telling someone what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear isn’t necessarily a good thing. Sometimes, breaking up and going in separate directions is for the best, while sticking it out to the bitter end can make long-festering wounds worse, not better.

posted by Carillon (1 comment total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So much great about this, but the ending overstays its welcome a bit. I loved the hurt she feels is both real but also petty. It's a great though in exploring the real emotions around relationships, which can be silly, even as they are important. The acting is great all around, and I do come away agreeing that Tobias Menzies isn't great at his job.
posted by Carillon at 12:30 AM on December 29, 2023 [2 favorites]

« Older For All Mankind: Legacy...   |  Movie: No Hard Feelings... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments