Touchy Feely

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Touchy Feely
Official Film Poster for Touchy Feely.jpeg
Film poster
Directed byLynn Shelton
Produced bySteven Schardt
Written byLynn Shelton
StarringRosemarie DeWitt
Elliot Page
Allison Janney
Josh Pais
Scoot McNairy
Ron Livingston
Music byVince Smith
CinematographyBenjamin Kasulke
Edited byLynn Shelton
Distributed byMagnolia Pictures
Release date
  • 19 January 2013 (2013-01-19) (Sundance)
  • 6 September 2013 (2013-09-06) (United States)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$36,128 (domestic)[1]

Touchy Feely is a 2013 film directed by Lynn Shelton and stars Rosemarie DeWitt as a massage therapist who develops a phobia to touching skin. Other cast members include Allison Janney, Ron Livingston, Scoot McNairy, Elliot Page and Josh Pais. The film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize,[2] and was released on September 6, 2013. It gained a mixed critical reception, and grossed over $36,000 in the United States.


Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt), a massage therapist, develops an aversion to skin shortly after her boyfriend Jesse (Scoot McNairy) asks her to move in with him. She takes a temporary leave of absence from work. Her disgust begins to affect her relationship with Jesse, as she cannot bring herself to touch him or be touched. After her suggestion that they take ecstasy together in order to help her relax goes awry, Abby decides not to move in with Jesse.

Abby's brother Paul (Josh Pais) struggles financially as the family dentistry practice is crumbling and his risk-averse attitude means he refuses to seek out new patients. When his daughter Jenny (Elliot Page) invites her friend Henry in for a routine teeth-cleaning, Paul is displeased. However, Paul manages to accidentally cure Henry's temporomandibular joint dysfunction and news of his healing powers begins to attract new clients. Inspired by the outpouring of enthusiasm from his patients, he visits Abby's friend Bronwyn in order to learn Reiki to better help his clients. However, after a disgruntled ex-client collapses in the waiting room while screaming that Paul is a fraud, his fortunes reverse and his patients disappear. Upset at watching her father revert to his former self, Jenny runs out of the office crying.

Abby leaves Jesse a break-up note and moves in with her brother. She takes ecstasy alone and while wandering outdoors meets her ex-boyfriend, Adrian (Ron Livingston). He takes her to his grandmother's home; while there she is able to touch him. Paul finds another ecstasy tablet and he takes it while he waits for Jenny to contact him. He wanders through the city, eventually ending up at Bronwyn's home, where they kiss.

Jenny goes to Jesse's apartment and invites him to attend a music concert with her. Afterwards, they go back to his apartment, where Jenny asks him to kiss her; he refuses, telling her he loves Abby. Jenny falls asleep at his home. The next morning they are awoken by a knock at the door from Abby, who is able to hug Jesse.



Director Lynn Shelton's friend Megan Griffiths suggested the title after Shelton described her idea for the film over lunch.[3]

Elliot Page joined the cast after Catherine Keener mentioned that Shelton was interested in working with him.[4] According to Page, a good deal of the dialogue was improvised.[5]


Touchy Feely received mixed reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 39%, based on 62 reviews, with an average rating of 5.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Well-acted but overly quirky, Touchy Feely is a tonally uneven dramedy with some interesting ideas but a lack of follow-through."[6] On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 55 out of 100, based on 18 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[7]


  1. ^ "Touchy Feely (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Dean, Michelle. "Flavorwire Interview: 'Touchy Feely' Director Lynn Shelton on Making Movies in a Time of Mediocrity". Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  4. ^ Bahr, Lindsey. "Ellen Page on her terror of improvising for new film 'Touchy Feely'". Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  5. ^ Vineyard, Jennifer. "Ellen Page on Touchy Feely, Improv, and Kitty Pryde". Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  6. ^ "TOUCHY FEELY (2013)". Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  7. ^ "Touchy Feely". Retrieved 4 March 2015.

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