Plot: “A novelist’s longstanding marriage is suddenly upended when she overhears her husband giving his honest reaction to her latest book.” -IMDB
Review: You Hurt My Feelings, starring Tobias Menzies as Don and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Beth, focuses on those harmless little lies we tell each other in our romantic, platonic, and professional relationships. On the surface, these lies are harmless, but when the truth about how Don views Beth’s latest book is overheard, all hell breaks loose. Heartbroken, we watch as the two swim through the complicated and muddy waters of truth.
For many of us, our work serves as a point of pride. For Beth, she is a wife, a mother, and then a writer. After her memoir failed to reach a large audience, we meet a woman who is unsure of herself. Failing to meet her grand expectations, she adds a greater sense of pressure to her next book. Needing reassurance and some help to rebuild her confidence, she turns to the one person whose support means the most to her.
In a conversation she should have never heard, Beth overhears Don’s true feelings about the new book. This honest feedback destroys her. Already struggling with her pride, a lack of trust makes its way to the pile. Watching Don and Beth rebuild trust between them, you might think about your own relationships. I sure did.
Great relationships succeed because of open and honest communication. Those of us who belong to creative fields often tie so much of how we see ourselves to our work. When we seek feedback, it becomes nearly impossible to divorce our ego from criticism. In our romantic relationships, our partners know this. It makes honest feedback a challenging task. This film wrestles with this truth, unlike any other film I have watched.
For all that it gets right about relationships, resolution, and truth, the film has some challenges. The pacing of the first half of the film can feel odd. From the trailer alone, we know we are building toward an overheard conversation, however, we have no idea how we will get there. For the entire first half of the film, the story doesn’t know either. This is something I found rather distracting.
Another challenge for me was the restraints placed on Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character. I was not expecting her to reprise a version of her award-winning performance in Veep, but I was expecting the comedic reins to be held a little less tightly.
Beyond these issues, I still recommend you spend some time with this film. It has profound things to say about relationships, reconciliation, and aging together. It left me with a lot to consider about my own relationship.
Be good to each other,
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