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Touchy Feely (2013)



Average Rating: 5.4/10
Reviews Counted: 46
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 30

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


Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 9

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



liked it
Average Rating: 2.5/5
User Ratings: 1,310

My Rating

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,



Dec 10, 2013


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All Critics (46) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (30) | DVD (1)

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.

October 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

September 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A work that gestures toward depths without truly plumbing them.

September 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The kind of film that makes you wish they had perfected choose-your-own-adventure technology for movies, one that would allow you to ditch the central character and follow any number of the story's more interesting second bananas.

September 6, 2013 Full Review Source: The Wrap
The Wrap
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Shelton is more observant than she is deep, and her filmmaking can be undisciplined, but the movie's rambling, episodic rhythms do seem in tune with the nebulous stasis that infects everyone in Abby's orbit.

September 6, 2013 Full Review Source: NPR
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The acting in this film is superb by the entire cast. The characters are well-drawn, well-meaning and interesting. There is no real villain here.

January 12, 2014 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

This is a film that skims over the surface of something interesting but never gets at it. The energy passages remain stubbornly closed.

December 20, 2013 Full Review Source:

About as much fun as a dental visit.

November 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

"Touchy Feely" is light entertainment and well-acted. But, beyond that, pretty shallow.

November 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Chambers
Movie Chambers

The result is a disjointed and inconsequential film whose chakras are in urgent need of realignment.

November 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

Writer/director Lynn Shelton has yet to disappoint.

October 11, 2013 Full Review Source: National Post
National Post

There are some wonderful moments scattered throughout and a fantastically awkward performance by Josh Pais, but otherwise Touchy Feely is something of a mess.

September 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

A sharp ensemble cast cannot rescue this woefully contrived drama about a family struggling with connections and commitment.

September 13, 2013 Full Review Source:

It's an enjoyable dark comedy, although as it centres on the awkwardness between these people, the film never quite resolves into something meaningful.

September 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

A great ensemble infuses life into the characters, but it's as if Shelton has painted herself into a corner with no clue what to do next.

September 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Leonard Maltin's Picks
Leonard Maltin's Picks

The chemistry between Josh Pais and Allison Janney is something wonderful to behold in each of their scenes together here. Too bad they had so few of them.

September 8, 2013 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

There's a great movie somewhere inside Touchy Feely desperately trying to swim to the surface, but its obscurity also comes with an inarticulateness that robs it of its potential.

September 6, 2013 Full Review Source: The Playlist
The Playlist

Shelton tells a typically modest story, here, where the only things really at stake are the emotional states of its characters. But that turns out to be more than enough ...

September 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Oregonian

Touchy Feely is in a familiar Shelton comfort zone peopled by mellow, relatable types that many viewers will appreciate. But, ultimately, this pre-fab world does not engage.

September 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

I wanted to like this movie more than I did.

September 6, 2013 Full Review Source:

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.
January 21, 2014

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.
November 15, 2013
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.
December 19, 2013
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

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