By Mark Fields
Writer-director Nicole Holofcener has made a career of deftly revealing the inner lives of complex, relatable women in films such as Enough Said and Can You Ever Forgive Me? and TV shows Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Orange is the New Black. Holofcener’s latest feature, You Hurt My Feelings, which stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tobias Menzies offer more of her adroit explorations of contemporary human psyches, especially those of women. Louis-Dreyfus plays Beth, a struggling but published author who accidentally overhears her psychiatrist husband Don (Tobias Menzies) harshly criticize her new manuscript. She finds the revelation to be debilitating but soon comes to realize that she is not alone among her friends and family in feeling misled, even betrayed, by excessive praise. The question of how one can best support the important people in their lives – on a continuum from adoration to brutal honesty – turns out to be a more complicated and provocative manner than first assumed. I must admit that I found emotional travails of comfortable New Yorkers to be well-worked territory, but that familiar theme does not derail Holofcener’s clear-eyed film. Louis-Dreyfus and Menzies are engaging in their roles, with excellent support from Michaela Watkins and Owen Teague in supporting parts.