Directed by Lynn Shelton
Abby is a sought after massage therapist and a free spirit, while her brother Paul thrives on routine, running a failing dental practice with his assistant and daughter Jenny. Suddenly, Abby develops an aversion to bodily contact, which not only makes her unable to do her job, but also severely affects her relationship with her boyfriend. As Abby navigates her way through an identity crisis, her brother's dental practice receives new life when clients seek out his “healing touch.”
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★★★½ review by Noetic Hatter on Letterboxd
Which does not make it easy watching. Shelton's story of a family tortured by an inability to face its own anxieties won't do much to make you laugh. But people from a certain kind of family or a certain kind of personality will understand and identify. It's a muted affair, and even normally-powerhouse or manic personas like Allison Janney and Ellen Page are toned down -- with Page doing strong work as a dentist's daughter struggling with unrequited love and a desire to break out on her own.
Rosemarie DeWitt anchors the film. Her ultra-new agey massage therapist suddenly develops an inability to touch others -- especially her boyfriend into whose home she is supposed to be moving. There's an astonishing scene where she stares at her hands as a tear slowly rolls down her cheek that will crush you. She also delivers a beautiful monologue to a sadly-underused Ron Livingston.
Her uptight dentist brother seems to be having the opposite experience, as he begins to discover the power of contact but doesn't know just what to do with it.
The film's resolution, while gorgeously photographed, is perhaps unsatisfying. And yet, it's real. People learn lessons about themselves all the time, and life goes on.
Slow. Sombre. And while almost reaching Portlandia-levels of modern hippieness at times, Touchy Feely rewards patience with some beautiful performances and lovely scenery.
★★★★ review by Michael Vazquez on Letterboxd
I wish and hope, Lynn Shelton would make more movies. I know she's doing episodes on some tv shows but I need more Lynn Shelton movies in my life, they're so relaxing.
★★★½ review by caino on Letterboxd
apparently i'm weird because i enjoyed this movie while everyone else on letterboxd community hated but that somehow works for me because i 87% of the time don't trust the letterboxd community because they hate harmless fun because they're too busy being #serious with movies and stuff and can't enjoy harmless fun. and this is just a harmless indie comedy so there is really nothing much to see (and i learned most of the dialogue was improvised so yeah it felt a bit awkward sometimes but thats the charm! i guess) but it worked for me and i loved the cast so yes!!
★★★½ review by Craig Duffy on Letterboxd
Interesting seeing magical realism transported into a mumble core setting. Took me a little while to pick up what was going on but it was a very interesting concept. A family's internal upheaval externalized.
★★★★½ review by Jason Bailey on Letterboxd
Blindsided me. Narratively slight but emotionally overwhelming. Shelton tops herself.
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