“You Hurt My Feelings” simply fails to deliver the goods in a dramatic way

You hurt my feelings

about Sundance

Written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, You hurt my feelings stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Beth, a bestselling author who suffers from a crisis of confidence in her new book. Married to career counselor Don (Tobias Menzies), her sister Sarah (Michaela Watkins) and husband Mark (Arian Moayed) complete the central quartet in this relationship drama.

On many levels, this film feels like any number of early Woody Allen endeavors. There are cross-cutting dialogues, petty crises, and heartfelt conversations between apparently wealthy upper-towners who suffer from existential angst. The paper-thin premise that glues things together comes from an overheard exchange between husbands in a shop by their wives.

That this can be stretched to two hours of screen time is amazing given that the film is pretty mundane for all the awkward dinner parties and sectarian confrontations. While there are some fun subplots about Don’s patients suing him for not solving their problems, and the chemistry between our foursome is solid enough, the audience’s attention can often wander elsewhere.

While the question of strategically assisting someone in a relationship is an intriguing question that raises quite a few questions on more than one occasion, movies need more than that to feel substantive. Recurring cameos from David Cross and Amber Tamblyn as a bickering couple might make for some comedic gold, but essentially this is a film in which any dramatic potential has been stretched too thin for cushioning purposes.

What this title is doing at the Sundance Film Festival is up for debate, as it neither breaks new ground nor finds an intriguing twist to apply to the material. There’s no denying that the performances from this solid ensemble cast are consistently excellent, but they often seem to tread water.

As Beth, Louis-Dreyfus is a mass of insecurities who takes offense at her longtime partner for voicing his honest opinion. There’s some mileage to collect, but again, not nearly enough to make the run worth it. As the older son of Beth and Don, Owen Teague works hard as Eliot, who is also writing a novel unbeknownst to his parents.

When they get wind of his artistic endeavors, Beth seems to support them, but pulls the same prank on her son that she just accused Don. That’s the tangled web they weave in a film that ultimately feels more like a homage to Woody Allen than anything overtly original. Moral concerns aside, You hurt my feelingsShe never really delves into relationship dramas with enough brains, preferring to stay on safe ground.

Merging marital infidelity with discussions of artistic integrity would not only have given the film more emotional stuff to work with, but could have expanded discussions of trust. From a critical perspective, it’s obvious that Holofcener had some great ideas, but on the whole they seem pretty narrow-minded beyond a select number of thematic pursuits.

For viewers looking for something similar, perhaps it’s best to go back to the cinematic source, as with Allen himself. To start with Annie Hallproceed with love and deathbefore you finish with Manhattan and maybe Hannah and her sisters. All of these films not only eloquently address the artistic struggle, but also delve deeply into the relationship conundrum.

When faced with a choice between the cinematic equivalent of an emotional half-hearted thing or something more substantial, it seems pointless to compromise. With this Sundance effort, audiences will do just that should they try to settle down. although You hurt my feelings is far from a terrible movie, it just doesn’t evoke an emotional response as events slowly unfold.

Because of this, any so-called drama is kept at a distance, making this an occasionally boring watch rather than something more powerful. There are a multitude of films that have taken similar paths when it comes to telling these stories, but unfortunately this effort by Holofcener never culminates in anything remotely close to an epiphany. A fact that can only be recommended to die-hard Louis Dreyfus fans.

Sundance Review: “Sometimes You Hurt My Feelings” is doing Julia Louis-Dreyfus a disservice

Tried and tested and uninspiring – this four-way relationship drama breaks old ground

https://wegotthiscovered.com/reviews/sundance-review-you-hurt-my-feelings-does-julia-louis-dreyfus-no-favors/ “You Hurt My Feelings” simply fails to deliver the goods in a dramatic way

Adam Bradshaw

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