You Hurt My Feelings

“You Hurt My Feelings” is a pretty clever depiction of emotional landscapes and psychological intricacies, skillfully directed by Nicole Holofcener. At its core, the film artfully dissects the psychological impact of interpersonal relationships, using our two attractive leads to poke at various tropes.

As Don, Tobias Menzies (familiar from “The Crown” and “Casino Royale”) plays a psychiatrist who relies on his training to guide his relationship with his wife Beth, played admirably by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Their chemistry is palpable, adding authenticity to the complex dynamics portrayed on screen. Don grapples with a major faux pas, capturing the essence of emotional turmoil with remarkable finesse. Menzies’ nuanced expressions and body language contribute to a portrayal that is both subtle and convincing.

Similarly, Dreyfus underplays her role to great effect. Her comic timing is well-tempered but effective. Director Holofcener deploys various psychological motifs throughout the film, using visual and auditory cues to convey the inner workings of the characters’ minds. Subtle changes in lighting and nuanced music cues (kudos to Michael Andrews for a fine score) enhance the audience’s connection with the psychological journey unfolding on screen.

Both lead actors navigate the fine line between introspection and external expression, providing viewers with a window into the intricate workings of the human psyche.

When Beth overhears her husband’s honest assessment of her latest novel, their seemingly idyllic relationship begins to crack. As the story unfolds, various other characters are caught in the ripples, but Holofcener’s script keeps the focus wisely on our lead couple. The supporting cast fills out the couple’s relationship; their son Elliott is in his early 20s and juggles between being a playwright and cannabis dispensary manager. Playing the couple’s only child, Owen Teague is given several telling lines and plays the role well.

The film’s exploration of psychological resilience is another standout aspect. The narrative cleverly weaves in moments of self-reflection, therapy and interpersonal interactions to depict the multifaceted nature of the psychological process.

As for the lead actors, their performances complement each other quite well. The chemistry between them is not only believable but serves as a driving force for the narrative. Psychology has underpinned many films, and here it is leveraged in an effective way.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.