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You Hurt My Feelings

Content Caution



In Theaters


Home Release Date




Bob Hoose

Movie Review

It’s not that Don doesn’t like Beth’s writing. He actually liked his wife’s first book quite a lot. But after reading multiple drafts of her current book, well, let’s just say he’s not a big fan.

That hasn’t changed his feelings about her though. So, in order to keep encouraging Beth, he keeps giving her the thumbs up. He sports an earnest smile. He declares, “It’s great!” And when Beth’s agent says the book isn’t really working, he feels compelled to proclaim that the agent just doesn’t get it.

OK, sure, it’s a lie. And, ironically, Don is always talking as a therapist to his patients about being open and honest with the people in their lives. But this is different. Isn’t it!? Sure it is. It’s a little “white” lie. Something designed to help, to encourage.

Beth, however, doesn’t quite see it that way. When she accidentally overhears Don criticize her book to their brother-in-law, she’s flabbergasted.

He’s been lying to her the whole time. His words are nothing short of a betrayal. Does he like anything she’s done? Is she any good? Should she even be telling the students in her Greenwich Village fiction class a single thing about writing?  Beth’s inner world comes crashing down.

Don doesn’t quite get it at first. But after having what he thought was a fairly productive Zoom session with a client he hears the person mutter, “What an idiot,” as he’s signing off.

Is that what that client really thinks? Then why didn’t he ever … say it to his face? Does everybody lie about everything?

Positive Elements

Beth and Don are a very loving couple. And they’re pretty generous with their affection toward each other. And while they struggle with their relationship in the wake of Beth overhearing Don’s criticism, they’re eventually able to set things right.

The couple obviously loves their adult son, Eliot, as well. But Eliot suggests that their over-abundance of encouragement and support of everything he attempted might have set him up for failure as a kid (since he thought himself better than he actually was).

Spiritual Elements


Sexual Content

Beth meets a married lesbian couple at a bar. One of Don’s patients is gay.

We see Beth’s sister, Sarah, braless in a t-shirt. The camera catches Don in the shower a couple times (from the chest up). Eliot breaks up with his girlfriend after she sleeps with someone else. One of Beth’s writing course students recounts a tale of a man behaving in a sexually inappropriate manner in front of her when she was 9.

Don and Beth kiss repeatedly.

Violent Content

While Beth is at Eliot’s marijuana dispensary, two guys burst in and rob the place at gunpoint. Beth throws herself over Eliot to protect him.

A student tells the story of someone being stung by a bee and dying from the allergic reaction. Later in the film, Don has a cosmetic eye-lift that leaves his face heavily bruised and swollen.

Crude or Profane Language

More than 25 f-words and 20-s-words litter this script, as do several uses each of “b–ch” and “h—.” We hear uses of “p-ssed” and “pr–k.” God’s and Jesus’ names are misused more than a dozen times. The c-word is used jokingly three or four times.

Drug and Alcohol Content

People at a bar drink cocktails and wine. Don and Eliot drink beer together. People have wine and champagne at dinner. Eliot works at a marijuana store. A depressed Beth goes in to buy some weed from him before she’s interrupted. Sarah’s husband takes prescription meds before an audition. Beth smokes a cigarette.

Other Negative Elements

We hear jokes about urine. Someone belches in public.


There’s a great question at the core of You Hurt My Feelings. It asks: Do we need to lie for the good of a relationship? We all do it, the movie suggests.

And, if we’re being honest, we’ll grudgingly admit that that’s true. “Does this outfit make me look fat?” a spouse might ask. “No!” we exclaim vehemently. “That outfit definitely does not make you look fat!” we lie. We do it partially to spare their feelings and partially to spare our own skin.

But, this film asks, are these lies necessary? Can’t we be kind and honest? That’s a compelling question that married couples could discuss over a cup of coffee. It’s the kind of idea that an entire family could think and talk about.

The problem with You Hurt My Feelings is that writer/director Nicole Holofcener doesn’t quite know what to do with that central dramatic motif after she sets it in place.

Since Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a central character here, one instantly wonders what a Seinfeld cast would have done with the concept. It definitely would have been funnier … and shorter … and, yes, even cleaner. But here, the rather thin scripting is pretty lifeless and crude. After the first dozen f-words, it’s not just your feelings that feel bruised.

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Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.