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touchy-feely-posterTOUCHY FEELY
Written and Directed by Lynn Shelton

Starring Rosemarie DeWitt, Ellen Page and Josh Pais

Lynn Shelton likes to keep things simple and free. Her films, like her last indie hit, YOUR SISTER’S SISTER, focus on tiny microcosms of people in very particular but perhaps also very relatable scenarios. Finding the meaningful in the minute is not always easy but Shelton has proven that she can both see it and show it to us so that we see what she sees. Her latest film, which reunites her with the incredibly underrated, Rosemarie DeWitt, entitled TOUCHY FEELY, is a bit of a blur though. She goes small again but meaning here is a stretch to connect with, feeling much more forced and much less free than in the past.

The trouble with TOUCHY FEELY starts right at the start with the premise itself. A massage therapist (DeWitt), feels herself repulsed by the sight and touch of human flesh after she agrees unexpectedly to move in with her boyfriend (Scott McNairy). The anxiety seems to her to have come out of nowhere when it is pretty plain to us watching from over here that one is directly related to the other. Meanwhile, her brother (Josh Pais), is barely living; he maintains his dental practice, barely at that, and avoids new experiences and people whenever possible. It isn’t lost on me that this functional recluse constantly has his hands in other people’s mouths, an act that is extremely awkward, but yet feels uncomfortable shaking other people’s hands but this is the kind of writing Shelton is trying to pass off as insightful. His daughter (Ellen Page). having grown up around both of these broken siblings is trying to break free but you just know that the damage is already done.

Touchy Feely

TOUCHY FEELY has an odd softness to the image throughout the film, almost as if it is designed to be embraceable by even those who might truly recognize themselves in the film itself. Shelton address topics like Raki and drug usage as other examples of experiences that get you out of your head and into your feeling self and then throws them into the pot too, hoping that when it boils, it will all come together the way she surely hoped it would when she first imagined it. In the end though, TOUCHY FEELY simply struggles to touch the viewer and connect in any way.


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How many sheep would you give Touchy Feely?



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