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.

Mark Fields
Mark Fields has reviewed movies for Out & About since October 2008. In addition, he has written O&A profiles of documentarian Harry Shearer and actress Aubrey Plaza. Over the years, Mark also has written on film for several publications in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and his home state of Indiana, where he also served as on-air movie critic for Indianapolis’s public radio station. Mark was an adjunct instructor of film history at Rowan University from 1998 to 2018. A career arts administrator, he retired in fall 2021 after 16 years as an executive at Wilmington’s Grand Opera House. Mark now leads bike tours part-time and is working on a screenplay. He lives in Trolley Square with his partner Wendy. Mark spent the fastest 22 minutes of his life as an unsuccessful contestant on Jeopardy…sadly, there were no movie questions.