Sometimes, a song becomes a potent symbol of the message behind an entire movie. When the movie No Hard Feelings was released in 2023, people enjoyed the funny story played by Jennifer Lawrence and Andrew Barth Feldman and the slow evolution of the characters. And one song marked the turning point of that evolution: Maneater, the piano song played by Percy at the restaurant, a symbol of how the protagonist’s sensitivity can change the meaning behind the music. Let’s discover more about it.
You can watch the official trailer for No Hard Feelings here on Youtube.
No Hard Feelings: Maneater, the piano song by Andrew Barth Feldman
The piano song played by Percy / Andrew Barth Feldman in the 2023 movie No Hard Feelings is Maneater by American pop duo Hall & Oates. You can find the original song here on Youtube, whereas below is the scene from the movie with the actor sitting at the piano in the restaurant.
Hall & Oates originally released Maneater in 1982 as the second single from their album H2O. The song was a commercial success and became one of Hall & Oates’ biggest hits, reaching the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and becoming one of the symbols of 80s music.
The song becomes a symbol of the protagonists’ different perspectives from the beginning: Maddie and Percy discuss it at the beginning of the movie, he explains how that song has always scared him because “it is about a monster that eats men,” whereas Maddie is sure the song is about “something else.” If you read the original lyrics, the meaning of Maneater is obvious: a song about a woman who targets one man after the other, using them for her pleasure. Below you find the lyrics present also in the movie No Hard Feelings.
Watch out, boy, she’ll chew you up
She’s a maneater
I wouldn’t if I were you
I know what she can do
She’s deadly, man
She could really rip your world apart
Mind over matter
Ooh, the beauty is there but a beast is in the heart
What’s interesting is that the song’s authors have recently revealed more about the authentic meaning of the song. As John Oates explained in this interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Meaneater was initially meant to be about “New Yor City in the 80s.” “It’s about greed, avarice, and spoiled riches,” he said, “but we have it in the setting of a girl because it’s more relatable.”
Maneater became famous as a song about a materialistic woman, and that’s precisely the meaning Maddie knows in the movie No Hard Feelings. Percy sees it through his innocence filter and believes it is a song about a monster who goes out and eats men. However, when he plays the song on the piano in the famous scene from the movie, he proves how his unique sensitivity can turn a track like that into something more poetic and romantic. Maddie’s reaction to listening to his version is amazing: we can see the emotion on her face, in her eyes, suddenly realizing how a performance can offer a new perspective on something you thought you knew already.
It’s one of the most memorable scenes of the movie. The music is always able to create our best memories, and No Hard Feelings did it with a special piano version of a classic 80s song: when Andrew Barth Feldman plays Maneater at the restaurant, the track suddenly acquires a different meaning. And for Maddie, it becomes an excuse to reflect on herself.