If your wife/partner/lover is a writer and you’re in the difficult if not impossible position of (a) not admiring her writing all that much but (b) unable to share your honest opinion for obvious reasons…what the hell do you do? I’ll tell you what you do. Never share your honest opinion with her or anyone else…ever. Never write it down, never record it…observe Moscow rules.

That doesn’t just mean “keep it hidden until you die”; it means “keep it hidden eternally.” It’s the only way to go. Life with a wife/partner/lover is hard enough; naked honesty will just send the relationship into a ditch.

From Owen Gleiberman’s 1.22.23 Sundance review of Nicole Holofcener’s You Hurt My Feelings: “For close to half an hour, we have no idea where You Hurt My Feelings is going, and we don’t care. We’re happy just to spend time watching Nicole Holofcener’s people reveal themselves with an alternating current of savagery and vulnerability. But then, out of the blue, the film coalesces into a situation.

“At the Paragon Sports store near Union Square, Beth (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and her sister (Michaela Watkins) happen to walk in and see that Beth’s husband Don (Tobias Menzies) is there buying socks with Mark (Arian Moayed), his brother-in-law. They approach but stop short when they overhear what the two men are talking about. It’s Beth’s new novel. Don confesses that he didn’t actually like it. But he read so many drafts, and felt so committed to being encouraging, that he couldn’t bring himself to tell Beth what he really thought. Now he’s stuck in a lie he can’t get out of.

“This is not a matter of overpraising someone’s pot roast. Beth’s writing is part of her identity, her core. That Don didn’t like her book — and deceived her about it — cuts her to the quick. It’s almost as if he was being unfaithful, a point the film underscores by having Beth rush out of the store and come close to throwing up in the middle of a New York street, deliberately evoking Jill Clayburgh’s meltdown in An Unmarried Woman.

“Louis-Dreyfus, a genius comedian, knows how to walk a balance beam between comedy and drama, but in this movie, for all the ruefully funny snap of her line readings, she makes Beth a grippingly serious character. She serves up unvarnished anger, along with the sheer anguished confusion that Beth feels at how the husband she trusted could have betrayed her.

“But did he? If it were simply the case that Don, in pumping up Beth’s novel to her, did something weaselly and lame, then the course of action would be clear. He should come clean and promise to do better. But what Holofcener, a screwball entertainer-psychologist, is most interested in is not the fact that Don lied. It’s why he lied. Clearly, he wanted to support her. And the key to You Hurt My Feelings is that the entire movie turns into a satire of what has become our fetishistically supportive and oversensitive therapeutic culture of positivity.

“All these things, in a way, are necessary. But maybe, the film suggests, we have tried to heal ourselves a little too much. Maybe we need a little more naked honesty mixed in with the wellness.”