Second Act Slump
You Hurt My Feelings is witty and likable
The worst thing one can say to an artist is that their art is good when it's not. If an artist doesn't receive honest criticism of their work, they will never grow and improve. But what does one do when the artist being criticized is a loved one? Do you tell them the harsh truth or a polite lie and show blind support? This is the question at the heart of Nicole Holofcener's new comedy You Hurt My Feelings, which doesn't contain many filmmaking flourishes, but still holds viewer interest with smart dialogue and charismatic performances.
Beth (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a successful novelist who, after writing a hit memoir, is nearly finished with her first fictional novel in years. She is in the process of speaking with publishers and everything seems to be going smoothly, but doubt begins setting in after she overhears her husband (Tobias Menzies) saying that he doesn't really care for her novel after telling her it was great. Beth begins questioning her own talents and this self-doubt bleeds into the lives of not only her husband, but her sister (Michaela Watkins) and her husband (Arian Moayed) who all begin doubting their own careers.
The film is little more than a collection of conversations between characters and it is not shot in any particularly interesting way, but still works thanks to the strength of its writing and performances. Louis-Dreyfus perfectly captures the neurosis of a talented person who can't escape from her own negative thoughts. You Hurt My Feelings doesn't do anything groundbreaking, but it is still an enjoyable ride that breezes by at a brisk pace.
Written and directed by Nicole Holofcener // Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tobias Menzies, Michaela Watkins, Arian Moayed, Owen Teague, Amber Tamblyn, David Cross, Spike Einbinder, Zach Cherry, Sarah Steele, and Jeannie Berlin // 93 minutes // A24 // Rated R