You Hurt My Feelings Parent Guide
This look at marriage rings true, but the profanity sounds a sour note.
Parent Movie Review
Beth and Don (Julia-Louis Dreyfus and Tobias Menzies) have a warm and comfortable marriage – until a betrayal shatters Beth’s world. Inadvertently overhearing a casual conversation, she learns that Don doesn’t like her new book, despite his repeated assurances to her that it’s a good novel. Shocked by this revelation, Beth questions her marriage, her work, her relationship with her son Eliot (Owen Teague), and the meaning and value of honesty.
In a world where movies routinely ignore the realities of aging (see 80-year-old Harrison Ford’s upcoming return to the big screen as action hero Indiana Jones), it’s a pleasant change to see characters coping with the normal challenges of mid-life. Don fixates on his appearance, concerned that he’s starting to “look old”. Sinking into a state of mild ennui, he complains that he’s “off his game” as a marriage therapist. As for Beth, she flounders in a morass of self-doubt, wondering if everyone has lied to her about her literary talents. Falling into the same trap as her husband, she finds herself offering premature (as opposed to insincere) encouragement to her son for his writing efforts. The irony is not lost on the audience.
I have to commend the film for its nuanced look at marital relationships. Beth and Don have a genuinely loving relationship where they have decades of familiarity, comfort with each other’s quirks, inside jokes, and a genuine desire to be supportive. They might slip into auto-pilot from time to time or take the path of least resistance in a difficult situation, but their commitment to each other is unquestioned. It’s against this relationship backdrop that the story’s questions about honesty feel so, well, honest. To what extent should spouses be truthful with each other? Is there such a thing as too much honesty? Is it acceptable or even beneficial to be overly enthusiastic to bolster a spouse’s flagging morale? Should one avoid telling a spouse something that would be hurtful? The script doesn’t give hard answers but it provides viewers the opportunity to watch Beth and Don figure it out for themselves.
Sadly, this interesting premise comes with some downsides. The movie often devolves into navel-gazing as the characters obsess over what can only be described as “first world problems”. Beth ties her sense of worth to her literary output, her interior decorator sister (Michaela Watkins) devotes an enormous amount of time to finding the perfect light fixture for a client, Don worries about sagging skin. Director Nicole Holofcener treats the characters with wry affection, but it can become tedious for audiences.
More problematic is the movie’s negative content. Marijuana use (legal in New York) is baked into the plot with Eliot working in a weed store and Beth smoking a joint in one scene. Characters also drink alcohol in social situations and imbibe a bit too much. Also off-putting is the volume of profanity in the script, with over twenty sexual expletives, along with terms of deity, scatological curses, and a variety of crude terms for genitalia.
You Hurt My Feelings is clearly not aimed at a mass audience: there aren’t nearly enough explosions or special effects for that. Frankly, there aren’t enough laughs either. But for adults who like (very) slow dramas about relationships, there might be enough here to keep them watching. In my painfully honest assessment, this movie might not be great, but it’s probably good enough for genre fans.Directed by Nicole Holofcener. Starring Julia-Louis Dreyfus, Tobias Menzies, Owen Teague. Running time: 93 minutes. Theatrical release May 26, 2023. Updated May 23, 2023
Watch the trailer for You Hurt My Feelings
You Hurt My Feelings
Rating & Content Info
Why is You Hurt My Feelings rated R? You Hurt My Feelings is rated R by the MPAA for language
Violence: There’s mention of someone dying of an allergic reaction. A scene involves an armed robbery without physical violence. A person’s face is swollen after a cosmetic surgery.
Sexual Content: Married couple kiss. A lesbian couple are part of a scene. There’s mention of cheating in a relationship.
Profanity: The script contains over 20 sexual expletives and terms of deity. There are over 13 scatological curses, three minor profanities, a slang term for male genitals, and three uses of a crude word for female genitals. A slang term for women is used on four occasions.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A character works in a marijuana store: there’s mention of smoking pot and eating marijuana edibles. A main character smokes weed. (It should be noted that marijuana is edible in this jurisdiction.) Characters drink alcohol and get intoxicated. A woman offers prescription anxiety medication to her guests.
Page last updated May 23, 2023
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