Review by Joseph Fayed
Every human needs a support system in their lives. We all need financial, physical, or emotional assistance in one way or another, and having the same group of those who provide us that support is crucial. You Hurt My Feelings tells a story of how a white lie can disrupt that and cause us to rethink everything we believed.
Beth (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) has just finished writing her latest novel. She and her husband Don, a therapist, have a falling out over Don revealing that he has never really liked any of her work. Both Beth and Don seem to be struggling in their careers. The two begin to doubt themselves, much to the chagrin of their son Elliot. Meanwhile, Beth's sister Sarah notices parallels of her and her husband's lives with Beth and Don's.
On paper, Beth and Don seemingly have everything. The script makes subtle notes of their interactions and how they have covered up every aspect of themselves to everyone else. Deep down, both of them are miserable. Still, there tends to be a charming tone to this couple. Mixed in with dry humor all across the film, the two are written as realizing both are equally at fault for how they acted. The white lie Don told Beth is equivalent to a 93-minute argument. It's well paced enough that its simple premise focuses on how and why Beth and Don have been living a lie both professionally and personally.
The film also does a good job at showing how self-doubt increases even without discovering your partner hasn't been honest with you. Sarah and her husband Mark are the more hilarious counterparts to Beth and Don. Sarah has grown sick of her career as an interior designer. Mark is a struggling actor whose career has been full of highs and lows. They are framed as comedic filler, as neither of them can catch a break. Elliot, Beth and Don's son who wants to become a playwright, feels the most out of place. He feels shoehorned into a film that otherwise naturally reveals the pitfalls of telling someone how good they are when they really aren't. However, he doesn't fall down the rabbit hole of the young son who resents his parents for how they supposedly wronged him growing up, so that was refreshing to see.
You Hurt My Feelings tackles a nuanced subject in a prolonged narrative, and it works. The cast has great chemistry that holds together every scene. The dialogue is pretty funny at times, and the script's unconventional approach of making fun of something we've all been guilty of before sets this above other comedy-dramas about upper middle class white women for upper middle class white women. Good to know they finally have an A24 film to worship.
You Hurt My Feelings hits theaters on May 26.
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