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Touchy Feely
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Reviews & Ratings for
Touchy Feely More at IMDbPro »

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21 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

"They'll make more"

5/10
Author: Steve Pulaski from United States
2 August 2013

Lynn Shelton's sophomore film Your Sister's Sister was a terrific little independent gem, showcasing relationships involving siblings and the complexities that surround quiet but notable flings we may neglect to mention to our friends. With a talented cast of three (Rosemarie DeWitt, Emily Blunt, and the wonderful Mark Duplass) it was a favorable experience to say the least. Shelton returns a year later with Touchy Feely which, to say the least, is a disappointing effort after batting a triple in 2012.

Your Sister's Sister worked because it was predicated off of human interest and realism in its events and dialog. Shelton asserted herself in human dialog, and immersed herself in the breathtaking beauty of Seattle's woodsy environment, making the film easy-on-the-eyes and very effective. Here, she makes Touchy Feely exist in what appears to be a fantasy realm, where real-life situations occupy a plot-point of science-fiction that's not only a bit offputting but difficult to adjust to. When the film introduces these plot-points, it only becomes that much harder to stay in-tuned with it, which is an issue seeing as that's the film's central plot.

Rosemarie DeWitt is Abby, a skilled masseuse who, all of a sudden, becomes frightened by the touch/texture of human flesh. This is a major issue because it renders her job impossible. Her brother Paul (Josh Pais) works as a dentist, with his directionless daughter Jenny (Ellen Page). When Jenny impulsively states that Paul has a "healing touch" when it comes to his dental work, the fib becomes true as Paul's work begins to heal many of his customers and their dental issues.

So, while Abby's job begins to crumble before her eyes due to her newfound aversion to human skin, Paul's dentistry practices begin to flourish and the possibilities become endless on his part. We, as the audience, are simply asked to observe this happening and this is precisely the issue; the film is void of connection and moments where true sympathy could've been evoked. We learn nothing about these characters except some of their situations are sad, some make us envious, but in the end, all of them are pretty trite and forgettable.

Touchy Feely's issue comes from two things; one, it feels more gridlocked to a story, where Your Sister's Sister was breezy and flowed in the wind, thanks to improvisational dialog. The other is that it tries to humanize something inhuman, which are relationships. It tries to make them the point of focus in the film and forgets we need to see the characters involved in the relationship to make them work.

At the end of the film - which runs a rather short eighty-three minutes - I thought about Lynn Shelton and how Your Sister's Sister struck me with so much surprise and how little excitement this effort packed. I simply console and toy with the idea that she is young, smart, and clearly passionate about not only her home-state of Seattle but film as an artistic medium. I say what I do after watching a mediocre Woody Allen movie; "they'll make more."

Starring: Rosemarie DeWitt, John Pais, Ellen Page, Scoot McNairy, Allison Janney, and Ron Livingston. Directed by: Lynn Shelton.

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25 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Another bland slice of Indie whimsy

1/10
Author: tigerfish50 from Old London, New England
19 October 2013

'Touchy Feely' is yet another Indie film which depicts the repressed behaviors and ho-hum dilemmas of middle-class American families. The opening act is set at an awkward dinner, where it's revealed that a dentist single father is obstructing his daughter's artistic potential by employing her as an assistant, while his sister works as a massage therapist, and prevaricates over moving in with her unambitious boyfriend.

Their issues soon materialize in bizarre ways - the dentist discovers his touch can miraculously cure long-standing dental ailments, while the massage therapist suddenly finds herself repulsed by human skin. The fine cast does their best with the material, but this lightweight fable makes little sense as pivotal plot-lines are swept under the carpet, or else forgotten by the screenwriter. By the time everybody gathers for a second dinner, most of the family problems have magically evaporated thanks to the glib ministrations of a Reiki therapist, an ex-lover's apology, the songs of an Asian folk singer and a couple of tabs of ecstasy.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

You might not want them touching you though.

4/10
Author: Jesse Boland from Burnaby, BC Canada
2 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It is listed as a comedy, but you won't be laughing. This is a story about a family of frail people who finally as one start to open up to the world around them. Each of them has their own protective layer that they need to break out of, and it is really not funny to watch. It is not a bad story, and it is told by a great cast, and the rural Seattle area looks great in the travel montages. I didn't like it, but you probably will. And Ellen Page is just so tiny, and broken in this her character never seems to really get better, and then she does no reason why. You could say that the healing of her Aunt, and Father was what she needed to heal herself, but you never see her actually healed as a result, just the result itself.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Highly Underrated

8/10
Author: zooey-sophia
11 January 2014

First, I am very picky about movies. I dislike most modern films because they lack solid acting, a thoughtful plot, and meaningful pacing, and instead opt for a quick paced romp simply to keep the viewer entertained for 90 minutes. This film was very different for me. The pace was not rushed, the characters were developed, and the acting was superb. I've now watched this film multiple times and pick up new emotions from studying the actors each time. It is also a very thoughtful film about who we think we are, and how fixated we are on how we think life ought to be, and I feel like anyone who takes some time to ponder about this film will have a lot to think about and enjoy reflecting on.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

It's never very touching!

5/10
Author: Hellmant from United States
3 December 2013

'TOUCHY FEELY': Two and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

Another comedy-drama film about relationships from writer/director Lynn Shelton. Shelton also wrote and directed the 2009' film 'HUMPDAY' and 2011's 'YOUR SISTER'S SISTER' (which was a better movie). One of the stars of 'YOUR SISTER'S SISTER', Rosemarie DeWitt, also stars in this film along with Ellen Page, Josh Pais, Scoot McNairy, Allison Janney, Tomo Nakayama and Ron Livingston. The movie is about a dentist and his daughter struggling to revive their dental business and the dentist's sister, who's a massage therapist, that suddenly loses her ability to touch another human being (out of fear). It's quirky and oddly funny at times but never very touching or as emotionally moving as it would like to be.

DeWitt plays Abby, a massage therapist who's boyfriend Jesse (McNairy) just asked her to move in with him. This scares her, as her last relationship was a hard breakup, and she starts having panic attacks that prevent her from doing her job. Her brother Paul (Pais) is a very conservative and anal dentist who lives in their parents' old house with his daughter Jenny (Page). Jenny is Paul's assistant at his dental practice, where business has been extremely slow. One day Jenny invites her friend Henry (Tomo Nakayama) in for a free cleaning and when her father heals his long time tooth pains their reputation picks up and so does their business.

The movie is interesting and entertaining enough while you're watching it but once it's over it doesn't really leave you with much to think about. That's good enough for some movies but I think a film like this really wants to accomplish a lot more. The cast is all great (I think DeWitt is gorgeous and I've been a fan of Page ever since 'JUNO') and the characters are likable but I don't think the resolutions to their problems are very satisfactory. It's oddly funny but never hilarious and is frequently on the verge of being emotionally moving but never quite gets there. It all seems just a little too uneventful in the end. Not a bad film but not an especially good one either.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

All your problems solved by ecstasy?

3/10
Author: wrestling-maniac
12 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't "get" Touchy Feely, is there a message one can learn from watching this movie? The Characters are dull and it's as if we're watching a movie that's been put on because the late night infomercial tapes aren't working, at no point is any relevant plot established and the acting is awkward at best.

When the Dentists unexplained phenomenal healing touch diminishes and the professional massage therapist decides she is sickened by the thing she has chosen as a career the characters turn to drug use to solve there problems, the most meaningful conversation is when the father and daughter sit at the table after there one night bender and don't say anything at all.

One redeeming factor is Ellen Page she is as cute as always she earns all 3 stars I give this midday (watch as you cook or background noise) movie.

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In this Freaky Friday-esque film, a brother and sister swap characteristics which lead to a better life for him and a more difficult one for her.

6/10
Author: Amari-Sali from http://www.amari-sali.blogspot.com/
1 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Between Ellen Page, Allison Janney, and Rosemarie DeWitt, you have a great filmography between the three in which you will likely find the best drama or comedy movies of the past few years; and between DeWitt and Janney, you'll also find some of the best television of the past few years. Leading to the question of how come this film seemed to not really pop up anywhere? Is it simply that Magnolia Pictures wanted to focus on their other projects more, like Blackfish, or simply a general lack of interest? To find out if you should be interested in this movie, look below.

Characters & Story

In this awkward little family, Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt) is a massage therapist, who has an interest in alternative medicine; her brother Paul (Josh Pais), who at first meeting comes off as Abby's father, is a dentist who speaks in monotone and is very plain; and then there is Paul's daughter Jenny (Ellen Page) who simply is a young girl, likely fresh out of high school, who is unsure what to do with her life.

Leading to the main story which deals with Abby's sudden phobia of being touched, or touching people, as her brother magically starts getting the healing touch. Something which turns his dying dental practice into the place many believe a miracle worker practices at. And while Abby adjusts to losing her ability to make people feel better, she has to deal with her boyfriend Jesse (Scoot McNairy), who originally was supposed to be a rebound from her ex Adrian (Ron Livingston). Then, as for Paul, as he discovers the power of his touch can help people, he starts to meet more and more with Abby's friend Browyn (Allison Janney) who teaches him Reiki, among other things. Leaving Jenny who pretty much spends most of the movie either working with her dad or wanting her aunt's boyfriend.

Praise

When it comes to praise, the nicest thing I can say is that the aforementioned actresses, and their co-stars, seem to fit their characters well. DeWitt playing a normal woman put in a weird situation seems in her comfort zone; Page being a teen who is on the cusp of adulthood and unprepared for the burden seems like something she is comfortable with; and then Janney playing an sort of eccentric character who rolls with the punches, once more, seems like something she has done before and is very comfortable in doing again and again.

Criticism

Problem with that is, with their performances all feeling like a character they have played before, and with them playing these new characters without enthusiasm, it makes for a rather boring watching experience. Something which isn't helped by a story which never really explains why Abby gained her phobia of touching people, much less why Paul suddenly has magic fingers. There is no medium who makes them switch abilities, nor are there any concrete reasons. Then, when it comes to Paul, he is so boring that even as he meets with Browyn and tries to become a more interesting character, it feels more like a last ditch effort more than anything. Plus throughout the film I just felt like there was this big elephant in the room dealing with who in the world was Jenny's mom and where did she go? Since Paul, in the state we meet him, honestly seems more realistic as a 50+ year old divorcée, with two kids, rather than a guy in his 40s who has Abby as his sister and Jenny as his daughter.

The story as a whole though does not in any way makeup for these dull characters unfortunately. For between the aforementioned switch, and then the personal drama, you are left wondering what is the point of the film, or the story they are trying to tell? With Abby's relationship with both Jesse and Adrian, there doesn't seem to be any real direction, conflict, much less resolution. Then, when it comes to Jenny, the whole her liking Jesse thing was very weird and it also felt a bit slapped together. Almost like they knew it should have been cut, but they wanted Ellen Page in the movie, so they threw something together so that the role was just big enough for her to justify showing up, learning her lines, and maybe mentioning the movie hopefully.

Overall: Skip It

I was meandering between saying this was "TV Viewing" or "Skip It" when I first started watching this, but as the plot continued on, no characters began to draw me into their drama, and the story showed that it was all downhill from the beginning, I honestly wanted to stop watching this movie. And even though I did finish it, I can't honestly imagine this being worth more than background noise for a good Sunday nap. For while I like the female leads of the movie, and think they are brilliant, in each and every one of their filmographies you'll find films like these which seem more made for them to say they were actively working than really part of something you can imagine them openly, and repeatedly, promoting.

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Losing your 'touch'

Author: Sesh T
12 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well, like I'm sure many have, I also claimed to wanting to watch DeWitt in almost anything. 'YSS/Your sister's sister' was followed by that fracking movie with Matt Damon and John Krasinski, in which DeWitt didn't have much to do, but hey, she was there, the voice of Damon's conscience (mm-hmm).

Well, she's in this one too, re-teaming with her YSS director, Lynn Shelton. It's a surreal kinda tale, with the tone weaving more towards the comedic rather than the dramatic, which was the strength of YSS. It spins 2 parallel tales of siblings, where one's fortune in their chosen profession takes off, along with cementing certain personal relationships as well, while the other's fortunes nosedive in parallel. While observing both these whimsical tales is interesting, strangely enough, there's a connection lacking between the protagonists and us, the audience. The cast's fantastic, with Alison Janney having a nice coupla scenes (but not enough, esp. towards the end), along with Ellen 'Juno' Page, Scoot 'Killing them softly' 'Argo' 'In search of a midnight kiss' McNairy and Ron 'Office Space' 'Swingers' 'Drinking Buddies' Livingston (who's in this for 1 scene, sorry RL fans).

All of that casting comes to naught though, and I classify this under being one of those 'missed efforts', of which there seem to be so much floating out there. Still, its an Indie, and its got Rosemarie DeWitt, and I'd watch her in anything, even repeatedly.

Its also surprising that the movie doesn't use one of its key conceits (that kinda makes its appearance a little bit towards the end) to more effect, in spite of its having been 'used' by both of its key protagonists. And what does each 'learn' from their predicament - no answer. Where is their arc? Maybe there was one, but I definitely missed it. Why don't we go deeper into the metaphors for 'massage', 'Reiki' (one needs touch, and the other uses your 'aura', therefore needing no touch - what do they mean to one another in the context of this flick) and even 'dentistry' - no clue. All of this came across as kinda half-baked, but perhaps Shelton was leaning towards being abstract, the way most Indies wanna get to be. I did not get it the way it was perhaps intended.

Well, all that being said, I need to watch it for DeWitt once again, though its kinda surprising that Pais gets more screen-time than she does.

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