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You Hurt My Feelings–Something to Think About

You Hurt My Feelings, a psychological family saga with humorous overtones, was released in May 2023.  Directed and produced by Nicole Holofcener (Last Duel, Can You Ever Forgive Me, Enough Said), the opening scene is of the mildly successful memoirist, Beth (Julia Louis-Dreyfus of “Seinfeld” and “Veep“)  who is working on a second book, a novel,  without much interest from her agent or prospective publishers.  In her daytime job  as a creative writing professor, Beth  encourages her students not to be afraid of writing what truly inspires them, without fear or self-censorship.  

Ruth’s husband, Don (Tobias Menzies from “Outlander”  and  Prince Philip in seasons 3 and 4 in “The Crown”) is an affable, mildly inept middle-aged therapist specializing in marriage counseling.  Soon every tool in his tool kit will be tested as he and Ruth must navigate their wobbly marriage of over 25 years.  

When Don and Beth’s son, Elliot (Owen Teague), unleashes his frustration that his mother puts pressure on him to be extraordinary, the family goes into crisis.  Is there any way to be honest in a family, in spite of well-intentioned but hurtful behavior and emotional shortcomings?   Or are “white lies” necessary to keep the family intact?  Are white lies therapeutic lying?   Family ties can be a high-stakes game.

As expected, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a comic genius with both physical gestures and timing.  Tobias Menzies matches her with his sympathetic turn as a husband committed to his wife and son, trying to be honest towards his wife’s fragile ego while critiquing her writing in a non-transgressive way.  And Owen Teague has just the appropriate balance of a young adult infuriated by his helicopter parents, but also needing them.  

You Hurt My Feelings is an enjoyable, seemingly generic comedy about a privileged professional couple becoming increasingly aware of their vulnerabilities as they age but with the humor to find a spark to reignite and move on.  

Availability:  Showtime and Hulu

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