Tag Archives: A24

You Hurt My Feelings Review

The beginning of You Hurt My Feelings starts with a counseling session. The topics addressed focus on feelings. The film displays how human emotions can have a big impact on how people take criticism. You Hurt My Feelings is an experience exploring how others think of each other, and how their careers and success come into play.

The start of the film begins with adults having frustrations with their careers. The focus is on a married couple, Beth, and Don. Beth is played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Don is played by Tobias Menzies. Beth is a novelist and Don is a therapist. They have a son named Eliot played by Owen Teague. Beth is more determined to find success. She questions, however, if Don truly has faith in her dreams of exploring new ideas in her writing. Beth goes on a stroll with her sister Sarah (played by Michaela Watkins), and they find Don in a store talking to Sarah’s husband Mark (played by Arian Moayed). As they come closer to their husbands, Sarah freezes as she overhears Don say some snarky remarks about the novel Beth currently has in the works. This, of course, hurts Beth’s feelings as one might guess from the movie’s title. 

The film is filled with a plethora of turmoil among all the characters from this point forward. Not only does Beth feel annoyed and put down after overhearing Don, but Sarah also struggles to support her husband, Mark. Mark is a struggling actor who is not getting the roles that speak to him. Primarily, the focus is on Beth and Don, but the other character’s troubles play into the film’s theme of finding success. Beth has a hard time having faith in her husband, while Sarah has a hard time supporting her husband’s acting career. Don even finds himself in distress when working with his patients in his job as a counselor. Everyone in the film at times falls into a pattern of feeling thrown under the bus, or feeling like they are throwing someone else under the bus. The writing in You Hurt My Feelings is brilliant in the way it presents a calm and heartfelt sense with natural human emotions.

The appreciation demonstrated throughout the film is reestablished in various scenes and particular moments. Despite Beth’s frustration with Don’s critical words, she puts more effort into trying to help her son Eliot. Beth attempts to help her son follow his dreams through his writing. Eliot continues to struggle to get his act together. The inspirational factor in You Hurt My Feelings is its approach in showcasing how feeling rejected yourself can cause you to want to encourage others.

There are moments of joy and laughter even during the harsher scenarios in You Hurt My Feelings. There are also several scenes which reinforce the experience of realizing the need for change. Despite the aggravations between the characters, it all works out in the end. Three and a half stars for You Hurt My Feelings.


Past Lives Review

Friends are important, especially the ones we hold onto for many years. Past Lives is one of the best films on friendship I’ve seen. It shows how keeping the friends we have known for a long time reminds us of what to be grateful for in life. Director Celine Song makes her directorial debut with Past Lives, and it is a monumental achievement. The film is strong in portraying connections and memories, but also demonstrates how the past can play a positive part in the present world among close friends. It is a portrait that sends a message to be welcoming to those who have positive value to offer the world.

Past Lives gears on Nora (played by Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (played by Teo Yoo). They are childhood friends who have been out of touch though for ages. In their younger days, Nora’s family emigrated from South Korea. Two decades pass, and they find each other online. They begin to socialize more again and touch base frequently. Nora is married and her husband is Arthur (played by John Magaro). Arthur does not display any jealousy and is not against Nora reconnecting with Hae Sung. Hae Sung comes to visit Arthur and Nora in the United States. Both Nora and Hae Sung relive the many fascinations of their younger days and reconnect over what brought them joy. The powerful bond of friendship is still within their hearts.

Past Lives is one of the most beautiful films I have seen in terms of friends being there for each other. Nora and Hae Sung are on this journey of figuring out the curve balls life threw at them and how their cultures are different and intertwined. Arthur sees those elements as well. The powerful example illustrated in Past Lives comes in the long discussions and the realizations of how life has turned out for Nora and Hae Sung. While they are in their own universes, the message that is conveyed is to always keep the ones we care about in our hearts and be there for each other whenever we can.

The movie includes conversations regarding diversity and the director allows them to explore interesting territory. The discussions between Nora and Hae Sung do not serve any negative purpose. It is simply about them remaining friends and realizing they truly have not left each other. Their separation happened way before they were old enough to potentially fall in love.  They still have the heart for their friendships and find meaningful connection again many years later.

Again, this film is a masterpiece. The story is riveting, the goal is moving, and the film itself is a revelation of love among friends. Past Lives makes its audience feel the love that surrounds Nora and Hae Sung. It also makes them feel the love between Nora and her husband, Arthur. Past Lives opens the door to great possibilities by using fascinating elements in memorable cinematic moments. Four stars for Past Lives.

Beau is Afraid Review

“When we use love and compassion as our guiding principles we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and to the environment.”

-Joaquin Phoenix

This quote by Joaquin Phoenix holds true in life. His performance in Beau is Afraid contains “love” and “compassion” as well as “guiding principles.” In all the elements in this film, the world created by director Ari Aster utilizes a foundation from the past and present. Phoenix’s performance maximizes the film’s invigorating tensions. Beau is Afraid is like an adventure mixed with medicinal side-effects. The bizarreness of Beau is Afraid is truly surreal brilliance. There are unexplained scenarios that involve pieces which appear in the most twisted of ways. Beau is Afraid is an experience of information overload with a positive perspective. The film may seem mind-boggling and overwhelming for some. I even felt that way in moments, but my heart was set purely on the adventure of a misconstrued man. Phoenix as Beau is that man in Beau is Afraid.

The film starts with Beau visiting his doctor because he suffers from extreme anxiety. The film shifts frequently to make the environment around Beau have a haunting and psychologically stressful ambience. This is common of Aster’s directing. Beau talks about how he is excited to visit his mother, but Beau really has lots of anxiety about the visit. As Beau preps for his trip, his environment goes awry. His world seems to crash in on him and his manic episodes put him in the home of a married couple named Grace (played by Amy Ryan) and Roger (played by Nathan Lane). They explain to Beau that they are taking care of him because he has been in an accident. With Beau’s mental state and worry about getting to his mother, Beau’s path home turns darker. The journey for Beau is an odyssey and which Aster is known for in his films. However, the odyssey in Beau is Afraid is the most in-depth one I have ever seen in any of his projects.

The film had me thinking about the visuals as Beau’s journey continued moving forward. The moments when Beau was going to a new place or trying to find new answers were like a world filled with puzzles, facts, and unfolded truths. Beau thinks back to his past a lot, and it correlates with the current challenges as he struggles to make his way home to see his mother. There are times where the technical aspects lighten up, darken, or go rogue. There are also times where a dark subject for Beau turns to negative cinematography. This effect is added with much more than just harrowing lighting.

Sometimes Beau encounters monsters of his past or even first world problems that he takes too seriously. Every problem in Beau’s head contains a recipe for more surprises to be unfolded. Aster’s directing is filled with a pattern of linking what is in Beau’s mind to other elements in the film. This results in the environments in Beau’s strange journey continuously shifting. It is a ride of questions and truths, but ultimately Beau is Afraid is about Beau confronting his past. The problems in his life hold the key to his anxiety and also the adventure he is on.

Beau is Afraid remains on track, and from my experience, it was revolutionary. The mind of Aster is put to the test in Beau is Afraid. I did feel overwhelmed throughout the film, but that did not stop me from enjoying how much it was blowing my mind. Beau is Afraid is enticing and will prompt viewers to think about the psychological aspects for hours after the movie is over. It will also leave viewers curious to how long they can hold onto something mentally and not let go. Beau has a hard time dismissing the harsh subjects in his head. His experience putting together the pieces is an epic and wildly dazzling experience. Beau is Afraid, but Phoenix is not afraid to play Beau. Aster is known for making scenes feel visually real and leaving a mark. Beau is Afraid is gorgeous and monumental. Aster demonstrates his impressive talent as a director in Beau is Afraid. It will leave audiences with all kinds of emotions and make them think. Four stars.