Movie Review: You Hurt My Feelings

For the second time in the history of this blog, a movie being reviewed – in this case “You Hurt My Feelings” has reminded me of one of the best quotes I have ever seen from the CEO and self-made billionaire of the company Spanx, Sara Blakely:

In order to be your unique creative self, you will need to let go of caring what others think about you. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. It takes self-awareness, self-reflection, determination, and lots of courage, Not caring what others think about you doesn’t mean you don’t care about them, it just means you don’t need their validation to be you. It’s been my life’s practice to work on this … I hope it becomes yours too.”

The point is, never let the opinions of others affect in any way, who you are and what you believe you can do. Never let what other people think or say affect your self-worth. This concept is entirely the premise of the new movie starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “You Hurt My Feelings”. Julia plays a novelist, Beth who has released one book and has been waiting to hear back from her publisher about her first work of fiction. Her husband Don, played by Tobias Menzies is a highly paid psychiatrist – who is having doubts about his own career.

As any husband would do, Don reads Beth’s book and has some glowing comments during the entire two years Beth wrote the book and is waiting for feedback from her publisher. Unfortunately, Beth overhears her husband’s real opinion about her new book in a retail store when she is standing behind her husband and his friend. This of course leads to a major conflict resulting in a key point in this story. This issue about a husband or wife critiquing the work of their spouse is a lose-lose situation. If you do not like the work of your spouse, then that will cause major problems in the relationship. If you lie and say you like their work, when you don’t, this can cause other problems. Either your lie will be uncovered or the spouse will realize that their partner is lying. This is a situation with no middle ground. There is no way of saying, “I kind of felt just OK about your book, or work”, because this would cause a whole set of new problems. The only way out of this complex issue is to either lie and never be discovered, or genuinely love the work of your spouse. The best line during these entire two hours is when Don says to Beth, “What do you think about your book? That is the only thing that matters”. This is the essence of  Sara Blakely’s quote above.

As far as this film, it is a highly cerebral, art-like movie, where the acting and the dialogue are the most important thing. There is nothing out of the ordinary, or attempt to be very different, and of course, there are no special effects.

Other characters in this story are the real-life husband and wife David Cross and Amber Tamblyn, who play Jonathan and Carolyn, angry clients of Don, who is having serious doubts about his ability to help people, especially after Jonathan and Carolyn ask for a 33 thousand dollar refund because they have made no progress in years. The problem with too many jobs in life is that the opinions of others, good or bad, are far too closely tied to making a living. This is why so many people venture out to start their own companies, so they can be in charge of their own destiny.

You Hurt My Feelings is a high-quality film with solid acting and a good story and an important message. The Rotten Tomatoes ratings are too high 95%, with my rating around 85% and a strong recommendation.

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