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Movie Reviews

You Hurt My Feelings ★★★



Director: Nicole Holofcener

Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Tobias Menzies, Owen Teague, Michaela Watkins, Arian Moayed

Release: August 8th 2023 (Prime Video)

Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said in 2013 was an unsung gem; pairing the late James Gandolfini and Seinfeld and Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfuss in a modern-day Romcom was a genius move bringing out the best of all involved. A decade on, and Holofcener has re-teamed with Louis-Dreyfuss in You Hurt My Feelings which premiered to stellar reviews at Sundance in January and came to Prime Video on August 8th.

Louis-Dreyfuss is Beth, a novelist, also teaching writing classes. Following a relatively successful memoir, she struggles with confidence in her writing and her latest attempt at fiction writing. Opposite her, we have Tobias Menzies’ Don, a therapist who is perhaps working in his profession and going through a midlife crisis. We meander through the pair’s story, intersecting with Beth’s sister Sarah (Michaela Watkins) and her husband Mark, played by Succession’s Arian Moayed. It is all pretty lowkey, mainly around the quartet and Eliot (Owen Teague), Beth and Don’s son, who manages a cannabis store.

The leads share tremendous chemistry as we unpack the years of marriage and erosion of trust following Beth and Sarah overhearing Don critiquing her book in a store. This opens a can of worms as they unpack their marriage, the nature of their relationship, and how Eliot fits into it.

Holofcener captures the mundanity of the characters’ lives and their genuine frustrations as we see Beth going to cafes for meetups with friends or her publishers. On the other hand, Don perhaps gets the more enjoyable workplace sequences with his therapy patients, notably Arrested Development’s David Cross, in a small but memorable role as a dissatisfied patient.

For such a natural comedic performer, it is always a treat to see Louis-Dreyfuss in this sort of project when afforded the chance. At the same time, Menzies is perhaps cast against type as we have rarely seen him as a non-Brit, but he operates well here opposite his co-star, and Watkins and Moayed are fine supports, Moayed a far cry from Stewy here as a disgruntled wannabe actor.

If never quite capturing the heights of Enough Said or her writing work on Can You Ever Forgive Me, You Hurt My Feelings once again proves Nicole Holofcener’s distinctive voice, making the kind of film that was once a mainstay of multiplexes, but is more of a rarity in our current climate. While understated and niche, it makes the most of its talented cast and subject matter, offering a reflective glance at things we might take for granted and how the smallest of incidents can significantly impact a relationship. This may become a cult classic in years to come and is certainly not without its rewarding moments.

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