Charming Cast Elevates Enjoyable Comedy [Sundance]

Feb 27, 2023

Home Movie Reviews You Hurt My Feelings Review: Charming Cast Elevates Enjoyable Comedy [Sundance]

While the film isn’t overly ambitious or deep, it’s an energetic, occasionally thoughtful & honest film about the lack of honesty & its effects.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in You Hurt My Feelings

Writer-director Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said, Friends with Money) returned to the Sundance Film Festival with her new film, You Hurt My Feelings. Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tobias Menzies, who are pitch-perfect in their roles, You Hurt My Feelings delivers a lighthearted, humorous exploration of the lies people tell to spare loved ones’ feelings. Holofcener, whose dialogue is witty, charming, and wildly entertaining, nails the seemingly minor conflicts and character relationships. While the film isn’t overly ambitious or deep, it’s an energetic, occasionally thoughtful and honest film about the lack of honesty and its effects on relationships.

Beth (Louis-Dreyfus) is a writer and professor who penned a semi-successful memoir and recently finished her first fictional novel. Beth is worried that it isn’t good because her agent doesn’t think it will sell as is, but her loving and supportive husband, Don (Menzies), assures her that it’s good and Beth’s agent is simply not seeing its potential. Of course, their relatively open and honest marriage (or so they think) hits a bump in the road when Beth overhears Don saying that he doesn’t think her novel is actually that good, but can’t bring himself to tell her the truth for fear of hurting her.

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You Hurt My Feelings doesn’t take itself very seriously, but it does offer some insight and astute observations about lying and why people do it — even if it’s only a harmless lie at the time. The film’s primary conflict is rather small comparatively speaking, but Holofcener suggests that it’s these seemingly minor conflicts that could unravel and open a whole new can of worms as a result of never being addressed to begin with. The film shies away from digging any deeper than it has to, circling the argument regarding lying and the reasons behind it like a vulture eyeing its prey, but never going in for the kill.

Still, the discussions had by the characters will make one think. When is lying a good thing? Is it ever a good thing? Why do certain lies hurt more than others? Is honesty the best policy in every situation? You Hurt My Feelings tackles these questions and more. Though it doesn’t provide any fully realized answers to any of them, the film suggests that conversations about lying should be had regardless, as it builds upon already established relationships and could result in more honesty. The film is bright and fun, grounded, and engaging throughout. There’s a sense of warmth and a casualness to the story and characters that pulls viewers right in.

Louis-Dreyfus and Menzies have great chemistry together, and their portrayals exude a breezy energy, a comforting appeal that will play well with audiences. The actors’ comedic timing is also excellent, and their onscreen relationship feels lived in and strong despite the conflict that arises between them. There is never a sense that Beth and Don will leave each other — their loving marriage makes their son, Eliot (Owen Teague), roll his eyes quite often — but it doesn’t diminish their ongoing dialogue. Supporting players Michaela Watkins and Arian Moayed, who play Beth’s sister Sarah and her husband Mark, respectively, provide plenty of the laughs throughout.

You Hurt My Feelings won’t knock anyone’s socks off, and Holofcener struggles to get past the heart of the central conflict in any meaningful way. However, it’s a light, cheerful film with wry dialogue and a fantastic cast that elevates the material. The film may not engage with its point beyond the surface, but it offers flowing, lively conversation, humor, and heart. Holofcener’s latest is an enjoyable watch, well-paced, well-acted, and will surely leave audiences smiling.

More: A Thousand And One Review: Taylor Is A Powerhouse In Poignant Debut [Sundance]

You Hurt My Feelings premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival on January 22. The film is 93 minutes long and not yet rated.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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