Touchy Feely (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes

Touchy Feely (2013)



Critic Consensus: Well-acted but overly quirky, Touchy Feely is a tonally uneven dramedy with some interesting ideas but a lack of follow-through.

Movie Info

TOUCHY FEELY is a closely observed examination of a family whose delicate psychic balance suddenly unravels. Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt), is a sought after massage therapist and a free spirit, while her brother Paul (Josh Pais) thrives on routine and convention, running a flagging dental practice and co-dependently enlisting the assistance of his emotionally stunted daughter Jenny (Ellen Page). Suddenly, transformation touches everyone. Abby develops an uncontrollable aversion to bodily contact, which not only makes her occupation impossible but severely hinders the passionate love life between her and her boyfriend (Scoot McNairy.) Meanwhile, rumors of Paul's "healing touch" begin to miraculously invigorate his practice as well as his life outside the office. As Abby navigates her way through a soul-searching identity crisis, her formerly skeptical brother discovers a whole new side of himself. TOUCHY FEELY is about the experience of living in one's own skin, both literally and figuratively. The film, written and directed by Shelton, and co-starring Allison Janney, Ron Livingston, and newcomer Tomo Nakayama (of the indie rock band Grand Hallway), is filmed on location in Shelton's hometown and urban muse of Seattle. (c) Magnoliamore
Rating: R (for language, some drug use and brief sexuality)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Lynn Shelton
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 10, 2013
Box Office: $36.0k
Magnolia Pictures - Official Site


Amber Wolfe Wollam
as Massage Client #1
Ethel R. Deans
as Mrs. Elvsted
Khanh Doan
as Massage Client #2
Alexandra Gobeille
as Massage Client #3
Daniel Malony
as Bike Shop Co-worker
Hans Altwies
as Mr. Frobischer
Sean Nelson
as Grateful Man
Amy Thone
as Hopeful Woman
Kate Bayley
as Scared Woman
Donald B. Deans
as Mr. Pfizer
Sean Donavan
as Young Tough with a C...
Ruth McRee
as Mrs. Olsen
Kate Bayley
as Scared Woman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Touchy Feely

Critic Reviews for Touchy Feely

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (15)

Despite its hints of New Age mysticism and serviceable performances from an able cast, Touchy Feely is too entrenched in its dour tone to be uplifting.

Full Review… | October 11, 2013
Toronto Star
Top Critic

The actors are all first-rate and the performances are fascinating, though Shelton, who shuns exposition, makes you work to figure out the interrelationships.

Full Review… | October 11, 2013
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

There's something fresh and new here, something that wasn't so dominant in [Shelton's] previous work.

Full Review… | September 12, 2013
Seattle Times
Top Critic

A work that gestures toward depths without truly plumbing them.

Full Review… | September 12, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

There is strong character work in here, one or two genuinely touching moments, and some good laughs too.

Full Review… | November 7, 2014
Fan The Fire

Innocuous then, but sadly lacking the wit and insight of Shelton's far superior Your Sister's Sister.

Full Review… | May 18, 2014
Observer [UK]

Audience Reviews for Touchy Feely

This was one of my latest disappointments with the independent film genre. While I can always find some glimmering reason why an indie movie has touched me, made me think, made me interested in a new topic or idea, "Touchy Feely" is the ultimate in do-nothing filmmaking. The story is non-existent, the characters are dour and constantly morbid, and I see no growth or change in anyone. The main character, Abby (Witt) is the most annoying person, and her story is nothing new or exciting. She fears intimacy and then loses the ability to touch people, which sucks because she's a massage therapist. Is this substantially addressed? No, it is not, and that's the absolute worst part about it, because instead of sticking to rationality, the plot careens off a cliff to never be seen again. This movie is very boring, a word I blacklist in many cases but for this nothing of a film I will assign gladly. Just, a huge waste of time in general.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

A successful massage therapist suddenly develops an aversion to the human body; simultaneously her struggling dentist brother gains an unexplained power to heal his patient's jaw pain. Well-acted but never following through on its central premise, this New Age-y trifle needs to have its chakras realigned.

Greg S

Super Reviewer

This drama directed by Lynn Shelton was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. After watching it, I really think that this one will divide the audience and any time could go both ways - some would love figuring it out what the writer and director wanted to say while others could simply walk away, deciding that their life is too precious to be wasted on such movies.

The story of a massage therapist Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt) who is unable to do her job when stricken with a mysterious and sudden aversion to bodily contact, seemed deep, but I am not sure if that was on the surface only. It had the elements of the New Age mysticism but they led nowhere when the going was tough - it tried to be uplifting but most of the characters finished where they started... I have to say that there were fascinating performances from most of the cast, especially from Josh Pais as Abbie's uptight (slightly autistic or neurotic) brother, spending most of his time in the floundering dental practice which receives new life when clients seek out his healing touch. The other noticeable acting was from Ellen Page as his daughter Jenny...

I think that most of the people who are aware of some of the benefits of the New Age touchy-feely approach will find this movie pleasurable, while others, more down-to-earth type of traditional believers could be very annoyed with suggestions that ecstasy could help you reach a balance in a relationship... Whatever group you are, the good thing is that the opposite opinion is usually served and Lynn Shelton is not asking anyone to believe in anything they see. If we simply take what she got - most of us could be satisfied.

Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

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