Filmmaker Nicole Holofcener reunites with her Enough Said star Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the very hysterical You Hurt My Feelings.
Every relationship is built on trust. What if your significant other tells you one thing in private and then something else completely different behind your back? This is the premise of the new comedy from Holofcener. Beth Mitchell (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a novelist but marriage shortly goes off the deep end after she hears her therapist husband Don (Tobias Menzies) dissing her new book in a sporting goods store. Only he doesn’t know that she hears his reaction. Ultimately, Holofcener is seeking to explore the fine line between honesty and validation. Where is the line and what happen when someone crosses it? What started with the filmmaker’s thoughts on what people might think of her work ended up becoming a comedy that deals with that but within the confines of a marriage.
Beth and Don’s son, Elliot (Owen Teague), is writing a play. However, he’s also working at a pot store, much to his parents’ dismay. There’s other family dynamics (immediate and extended)–especially when it comes to validation–that add even more comedy into the picture, including interior designer sister Sarah (Michaela Watkins) and actor brother-in-law Mark (Arian Moayed) and their insecurities. This doesn’t even begin to take Don’s therapy sessions into account. Is he a good therapist? Well, I’ll just let you watch the film and decide for yourself. Among his patients are a married couple, Jonathan (David Cross) and Carolyn (Amber Tamblyn). Let’s just say two years of therapy isn’t really taking them anywhere.
Speaking as a critic, this is a comedy that resonates with me. I’m going to be honest when I say how I feel about a film. Unfortunately, it might not always be good news. For any artist, it’s always a worry when it comes to what somebody will think of their work. I know filmmakers who have this worry and believe me, it’s real.
Nicole Holofcener and company have nothing to worry about here because there are laughs coming almost every minute. In all honesty, I felt like I was laughing during the entire film with barely even a moment to breathe. It certainly helps when you have talented comedians like Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Michaela Watkins in the cast. Add Jeannie Berlin into the equation as their mother, Georgia, and the laughter keeps coming non-stop. Apologies to composer Michael Andrews–much like Blockers, I could barely hear the score over the laughter. There’s a reason why Julia Louis-Dreyfus has eight Emmy wins for her work in a comedy series! Her work here also manages to elevate the rest of her castmates in the process.
Let me say this about comedy. Laughter is contagious. A film like this is best viewed in a theater because the energy bounces off one another. If you can’t watch in a theater, please consider getting a group of friends together when the film becomes available on VOD. As for the rest of the film’s run at Sundance, the comedy is only available online for virtual press and industry as there are no online screenings for the general public. I look forward to watching the comedy again later this year.
You Hurt My Feelings is a laugh riot.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Nicole Holofcener
CAST: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tobias Menzies, Michaela Watkins, Arian Moayed, Owen Teague, Jeannie Berlin
You Hurt My Feelings holds its world premiere during the 2023 Sundance Film Festival in the Premieres program. A24 will release the film in 2023. Grade: 4.5/5
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