tue 27/02/2024

You Hurt My Feelings review - Manhattanite comedy with a characterful cast | reviews, news & interviews

You Hurt My Feelings review - Manhattanite comedy with a characterful cast

You Hurt My Feelings review - Manhattanite comedy with a characterful cast

Enjoyable ensemble work lifts over-familiar drama

New York, New York: Beth (Julia-Louis Dreyfus) consoling herself in a suitably upmarket bar

Popped straight out to the streamers, Nicole Holofcener’s new film has apparently been labelled as insufficiently marketable for a theatrical release against the juggernaut of Barbenheimer. Surely by now a movie that doesn't feature either Ryan Gosling or Florence Pugh’s bare chests could be allowed in the cinema?

Some of us might be craving dialogue we can hear and a 90-minute running time, or a script that doesn’t yammer on about the patriarchy while smothering us in pink. It's hard to believe that You Hurt My Feelings wouldn't have sold a few tickets in the cinemas that cater for middle-aged urbanites with cash to spare – the kind of folk featured in the film.    

Seinfeld star Julia-Louis Dreyfus reunites with writer-director Holofcener 10 years after their first collaboration on Enough Said. This time around, Dreyfus plays Beth, a memoirist who teaches creative writing to students who haven’t read her book and is fretting about her new novel. When she accidentally overhears her beloved husband Don (Tobias Menzies) tell his brother-in-law that he’s not crazy about her writing, she is devastated.  But Don is struggling with his own self-esteem – he’s a psychotherapist whose clients are patently unimpressed with his insights into their problems and nurtures his own worries about ageing.You Hurt My FeelingsThrow into the mix Michaela Watkins as Beth’s sister, who can’t convince her wealthy client that her interior decorating choices are en point and her husband, a struggling actor played by Arian Moayed (pictured above, with Watkins) who isn’t getting great roles, and you have the ingredients for a classic comedy of disappointed middle-class life in Manhattan. It’s very gentle, no-one is facing serious dilemmas, just the kind of disillusion that ageing brings with it. 

Casting throughout is excellent – Owen Teague plays Eliot, the 23-year-old son sickened by his parents’ oversharing, right down to licking the same ice-cream cone – and Jeannie Berlin gives a fabulous turn as a passive aggressive mother playing her two adult daughters against each other. Real life couple Amber Tamblyn and David Cross play unhappy marrieds bickering on their therapist's sofa. Smart gags about botox and the high cost of counselling weave in and out of comedy scenes set in a licenced weed store and a drop-in centre for homeless people. 

It’s all very reminiscent of Woody Allen, Noah Baumbach and Sofia Coppola and absolutely fine if you like that sort of thing. You Hurt My Feelings is certainly funnier than Barbie and shorter than Oppenheimer, but as it’s not that different from the classy comedy dramas rolled out by the streamers in recent years, maybe it’s not such a surprise that it didn’t warrant a theatrical release in the UK.

It's a classic comedy of faintly disappointed middle-class life


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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