Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a scene from “You Hurt My Feelings” 2023. Jeong Park/A24

“Writer-director Nicole Holofcener is the gift that keeps on giving. Consider her work, all of which features the gifts of Catherine Keener: ‘Walking and Talking,’ ‘Lovely and Amazing’ and the wonderful ‘Friends With Money.’ If you’re a Keener fan, welcome home. Happiness is a thing called Keener.”

I wrote those words about Nicole Holofcener 2010 film “Please Give” where I heap praise on Ms. Holofcener and actor Catherine Keener. Keep those words in mind as we proceed.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been a favorite since she was Elaine, the co-star of “Seinfeld,” the show that ran forever and is still streaming on Netflix. Louis-Dreyfus is an esteemed comic actor with an enviable career.

We love Louis-Dreyfus and have followed her from “Seinfeld,” to “Veep” up to her latest effort in writer director Nicole Holofcener’s “You Hurt My Feelings.” I always wish her the best. My first wish would be that she had passed on this one.

Spoiler alert. I didn’t like it.

Still, as a devoted fan of Ms. Louis-Dreyfus and excited to view “You Hurt My Feelings,” I came to it arms open.


In Ms. Holofcener’s latest film, Julia plays Beth playing a writer.

We meet Beth, a “reasonably successful author.”

Beth, a disturbed human being, like all writers, is at the moment suffering from a “crisis of confidence” about her latest book, the first one having been a “moderate” success.

Beth has been, to date, getting wonderful, loving daily praise for her work from her hubby Don (Tobias Menzies, Philip in “The Crown”) a fine actor miscast here.

Don is a go-along, get-along, low-temperature therapist, who, in the course of the film, suffers through three or four unfunny patients.

Watch Menzies. He’s not bad, but he’s “slow walking” though this.


Don’s patients are poorly drawn characters who do the “comedy relief” set.

One such set features an unpleasant married couple (David Cross and Amber Tamblyn) who have been coming to Don for years, and now want their money back and threaten to sue him.

Tamblyn, daughter of dancer Russ Tamblyn, has five minutes here.

Woody Allen famously said, “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.” Anyone who has done stand up will tell you that.

The big moment comes when Beth and her sister Sarah (Michaela Watkins “Trophy Wife) “wander” into a shop and “accidentally” overhear Don and Sarah’s husband Mark (Arian Moayed, “Succession”) chatting about Beth’s book in a “stage whisper.” Don’t you hate when that happens?

It’s here that Don whines about his efforts to support Beth, while keeping his true doubts to himself. This is where Beth gets her “feelings hurt.”


I should mention that Don and Beth have spawned a complicated, insecure, troubled son Eliot, (Owen Teague, “The Stand”) who has, unknown to his parents, written a play. Eliot, of course, blames his mother for everything.

Let us leave that for another movie. Teague is an experienced young actor who will have better chances.

Knowing that Ms. Holofcener and Catherine Kenner have been close friends since they began in films, I, as a fan, longed to see her in “Feelings,” perhaps as the older sister? I love recasting films, as we all do, so I would have cast Kathryn Hahn (“Glass Onion” and Hulu’s “Tiny Beautiful Things.”)

Then you’d have a movie worth sitting through.

Important note: Director Nicole Holofcener seems to be taking her abundant talents and a welcome cameo of her friend Catherine Keener into a new television series with AMC+ latest segment of Bob Oldenkirk’s “Lucky Hank” now streaming.

“You Hurt My Feelings” opens at Maine Film Center on May 26.

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.