By Megan Bianco
Beginning her career as an apprentice for fellow New Yorkers Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese, Nicole Holofcener broke through her own filmmaking career in the 2000s with slice-of-life romantic dramedies including Lovely and Amazing (2001) and Friends with Money (2006).
Like with Nancy Meyers’ work, Holofcener’s characters are usually older, upper middle-class women going through some kind of dilemma, usually involving her relationship or family. With Holofcener’s movies, we get a bit more casual, laid-back tone that we now associate with indie and mid-budget flicks.
Her latest effort, You Hurt My Feelings, is familiar territory for fans, but delivers what the writer-director does best.
In modern day Manhattan, Beth (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a writer who is struggling to get her second book published. While her first book was a memoir about her early life, this time she’s giving fiction a shot.
Her husband, Don (Tobias Menzies), is a psychiatrist who is second-guessing his strength and interest in advising his clients, while their son, Elliott (Owen Teague), is a college graduate running a marijuana dispensary.
When Beth overhears Don secretly reveal he doesn’t think her current book is that good, her ego is shattered, and she starts having doubts about both her talent and their marriage. Meanwhile, Elliott is having his own quarter-life crisis and confesses he doesn’t think Beth and Don were good enough parents.
You Hurt My Feelings reunites Holofcener with Louis-Dreyfus for the first time since Enough Said (2013), and it reminds us the two naturally mesh just as well as Holofcener with her favorite female lead, Catherine Keener, during the first decade of her directing career.
Louis-Dreyfus, who somehow seems to not bat quite as well in film as she does on TV, exudes nicely here, and has finally found the best creator for her cinematic material. Though it’s a bit jarring to hear the English actor with an American accent at first, Menzies does well, as Don and the supporting cast of You Hurt My Feelings are a treat, too.
The plot isn’t too complicated or mind-blowing, but it’s nice to have a swift, 93-minute movie focus on everyday occurrences and end on a heartwarming note. While I would have preferred the script to be a tiny bit more fleshed out, You Hurt My Feelings is just fine for an easy night viewing.