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163 Ratings

Touchy Feely

Directed by Lynn Shelton
United States, 2013


A massage therapist is unable to do her job when stricken with a mysterious and sudden aversion to bodily contact. Meanwhile, her uptight brother’s foundering dental practice receives new life when clients seek out his “healing touch.”

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Touchy Feely Directed by Lynn Shelton
As in her paradoxically looser but sharper Humpday (2009) and Your Sister’s Sister (2011), Shelton has a gift for making actors feel at ease: Allison Janney’s widowed Reiki practitioner is as warm and soothing as a worn flannel shirt, and even Ellen Page, as the dentist’s anxious daughter, manages to let her hair down a tad. But when the filmmaker lines up her characters to confront their respective fears of intimacy, the loosey-goosey vibe clashes with the script’s clunky machinations…
September 02, 2013
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…Shelton imbues her film with a hushed sense of mystery, present in both the relative quiet of the soundtrack and a visual strategy that simultaneously paints her settings with a lushly colored palette and keeps everything at a cold remove through the sterility of the digital imagery. This is a world where the occurrence of mystical events and small miracles don’t feel out of place, but where the biggest miracle is always any kind of true emotional connection between its characters.
September 01, 2013
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You’d think that a gifted director like Shelton would be able to comfortably ride on the top-tier acting talent involved… But even the acting can’t save it, as there’s a general, all-pervading feeling of uncertainty about the whole enterprise. Scenes drag on, awkward pauses lose any of their coiled deadpan humour and come across as bungled dialogue cues, and there’s also disconnect in the acting styles, with DeWitt shooting for Cassavetes and Pais shooting for the Farreleys.
May 15, 2014
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