Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

I Feel (Short)

Grade : A Year : 2017 Director : Steve Blackwood Running Time : 10min Genre : ,
Movie review score

Couples group therapy sounds like the most uncomfortable thing ever. While I’m sure it’s important for outside professional opinions on a marriage, the possibility of feedback from strangers on intimate details of your own relationship sounds awkward and embarrassing. A couples therapy session, however, is the setting of Steve Blackwood’s mockumentary comedy, which he wrote with his wife, Karen. We get interviews with the marital counselor leading the session, Dr. Talbert (Marty Smith), who seems ill-equipped for the job, based on her credentials, as well as the four couples here for the session. We also see them within the session, and it’s just as surreal as you’d expect.

As someone who has done both group and personal therapy themselves, it’s clear that there are exaggerations for the purpose of the comedy, but it’s an important distinction that the film is not making fun of the idea of therapy and counseling, which, admittedly, could be a problem if you don’t take the process seriously. I feel, however, that “I Feel” does, and that it’s just creating exaggerations in the way Dr. Talbert speaks and wants her couples to interact and accept one another for the sake of the Christopher Guest-like comedy Blackwood is going for here. That said, I can acknowledge how someone can find the way therapists and counselors talk as being ridiculous because, especially when you get started, it can be. The fact that Dr. Talbert is profoundly unqualified makes it all the crazier, and makes the revelations about what happened after this documented session for these couples completely unsurprising. The Blackwoods have a smart ear for this type of comedy, and it’s very funny to get to know everyone and see how things get off the rails, with Smith’s Talbert at the center. I think back at some of the funniest therapy moments in some of my favorite movies (“The Ref,” “Grosse Point Blank”), and I can easily put this up there with those scenes at how honestly they come by their laughs by taking an important process to some people to comedic extremes. I feel like I learned a lot about myself during these 10 minutes, and how I can view something that’s been vital to my own growth in a light, silly manner. Thanks, Dr. Talbert!

"I Feel" (2017) | Trailer from Stories in Motion on Vimeo.

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