by Genevieve Sibayan, published on April 24, 2013|
Touchy Feely stars Rosemarie DeWitt as Abby, a masseuse whose about to move in with her boyfriend (Scoot McNairy). Her brother Paul (Josh Paris) is an uptight dentist in a flagging dental practice and single father to "emotionally stunted" Jenny (Ellen Page). The dysfunctional family are all unhappy or unsure of their direction in life until Abby's younger boyfriend asks her to move in with him.
Directed by Lynn Shelton (Your Sister's Sister), Touchy Feely was a film that I really wanted to like but sadly misses that je ne sais quois. The relationship of the group of characters took a while to work out as Touchy Feely opened confusingly and the first 20 mins was occupied with figuring out who was whose father/ex/boyfriend/daughter/neice/sister/brother.
Paul, is so awkward that it's impossible to believe how he could ever father a child let alone bring her up. No mention is made of the mother or what happened to her. Abby, unfortunately for a masseuse, develops a sudden aversion to bodily contact. Now if I hadn't read this in the press release afterwards, it's something I would never have guessed. DeWitt, 41 is playing opposite a 32 year old and the visual montage sequence of wrinkles and skin not springing back as quickly add it once would have done coupled with Abby's aversion to younger skin reinforced the age theme But apparently I was watching the film incorrectly.
Paul turns to Reiki to help him heal his dentistry patients. There is a very funny training montage where Paul trains to become a Reiki master. Abby turns to ecstasy to deal with her issues not something that anyone should really be advocating as a solution to any problems.
The majority of the film is filled with awkward conversations that are barely audible and jam packed with long lingering looks and filled with shots included for aesthetic reasons. Eventually, after being unhappy and exploring other possibilities, the family find happiness with a person that was under their nose to begin with.
All though it was well acted and had a cast of solid names, in my opinion it would have benefited from some ruthless editing and being a little bit pacey-er. The vast majority of the conversations were awkward and slow and the visual metaphors lingered a little too long. There's something not quite right when the audience misunderstand an entire metaphor.
I would have given it a 3 but due to suggesting ecstasy should be used as part of the solution to any problem, it's only getting a 2.
Touchy Feely will be showing at Sundance London 25th-28th April. Tickets for individual films cost £14.
Rating: 2 out of 5