Film Review: “You Hurt My Feelings” (2023)

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Photo by Jeong Park /Jeong Park – © Just My Opinion Pictures Inc

What is the difference between true encouragement and encouragement by intent? How would you react if you were praised for something you are not good at just because someone wants to be genuinely nice?
New York novelist Beth is successful at what she does. But does she really? Her husband, Don, is a psychologist who seems mostly nice and avoids criticism towards his patients, which causes dissatisfaction between them. It seems the façade of constant pretence is there to stay until the moment when Beth overhears that Don does not really like her new book. I guess, it should be alright not to like the new story, but Beth takes it negatively, giving rise to a turbulent relationship between herself, her husband and their son.

In reality, “You Hurt My Feelings” by writer-director Nicole Holofcener is about the fear of being called out, criticized and truthfulness. The film invites the audience to discuss things such as—what is a true relationship about? Telling lies or being honest? Smiling at someone’s face and backstabbing later on? It seems Beth Is someone who does not realize the importance of an open discussion; therefore, she creates more issues than provides a solution. For instance, Don, on the other hand, is very composed and content. He is not as emotional as Beth, but that does not make him a better person. However, during one of the therapy sessions, he realizes the potential to improve himself and goes for it.

That being said, “You Hurt My Feelings” is an average film with a concept that would not make bigger noise if not for Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tobias Menzies. In fact, how many people out there consider themselves to be pure perfection but, on the inside, are full of faults? This is why I enjoyed the film, at least, from my own perspective. Narcissism is well and thrives. Beth and Don are a great match. But can they finally put their differences aside and think about their own child? Does the world revolve around them only? All these questions will be answered, as you hope, with the prospect of its main characters as well, to improve and get better over time.


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