You Hurt My Feelings (2023)

You Hurt My Feelings (2023)

Wise, funny, and utterly relatable, this mediation on the merits of white lies and bitter truths is a delightful piece of work



United States of America
Comedy, Drama, Romance
Amber Tamblyn, Arian Moayed, Clara Wong
93 min


Fellow writers who secretly believe everyone who ever praised you actually loathes your work: this isn’t going to cure your imposter syndrome, but it’ll help you feel better about it!

What it's about

A writer overhears her husband’s true feelings about her new book, leading her to question their years-long marriage.

The take

Who among us hasn’t committed a white lie to save a relationship? And who among us hasn’t yearned for the full and brutal truth? In You Hurt My Feelings, Nicole Holofcener digs into that paradox and delivers a film that is honest and funny in equal measure. Here, the writer-director doesn't just use a hilarious situation to make relatable observations and clever witticisms; she also extracts the nuances of it. She is aware, for instance, that her well-to-do characters exist in a world where it’s possible to only care about this, and not much else. And she likewise knows that Beth's (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) and Don's (Tobias Menzies) trust issues are complicated by their age and respective mid-life career troubles. But rather than stay stuck in the specificity of those details, Holofcener uses her perceptive script to highlight the relatable and the universal. These characters hurt just the same—they're plagued with the same insecurities and seek the same validation—and they express that hurt in the petty and unvarnished language everyone else does. Watching all this come to play is a comforting delight.

What stands out

Bad therapy. Therapists are made to seem so untouchably good in media, only there to prod characters into enlightenment. But thanks to TV shows like Shrinking and films like You Hurt My Feelings, we’re thankfully getting a more realistic and humane picture of the people who teach us to do better. They’re not prone to hurting and making mistakes, and it’s unfair to expect otherwise. Menzies does an impressive job of juggling professionalism and ineptitude as a therapist who’s losing his grip on his patients, easily making his storyline stand out from an already-engaging film.

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