Touchy Feely

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Touchy Feely
Official Film Poster for Touchy Feely.jpeg
Film poster
Directed by Lynn Shelton
Produced by Steven Schardt
Written by Lynn Shelton
Starring Rosemarie DeWitt
Ellen Page
Allison Janney
Josh Pais
Scoot McNairy
Ron Livingston
Tomo Nakayama
Cinematography Benjamin Kasulke
Edited by Lynn Shelton
Distributed by Magnolia Pictures
Release date
  • 19 January 2013 (2013-01-19) (Sundance)
  • 6 September 2013 (2013-09-06) (United States)
Running time
88 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $36,128[1]

Touchy Feely is a 2013 film directed by Lynn Shelton. It stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Allison Janney, and Ellen Page. The film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize,[2][3] and was released in the United States on September 6, 2013.


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. Taking a temporary leave of absence from her work, her disgust begins to affect her relationship with Jesse as she cannot bring herself to be touched or touch him. After her suggestion that they take ecstasy together in order to help her relax goes awry Abby decides not to move in with Jesse.

Meanwhile her brother Paul, (Josh Pais), is struggling financially as the family dentistry practice is crumbling and his risk-averse attitude means he refuses to seek out new clients. When his daughter Jenny (Ellen 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 clients 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 are reversed and his clients disappear. Upset at watching her father revert to his former self, Jenny runs out of the office crying.

Abby decides to break up with Jesse in a note and moves in with her brother. She takes the ecstasy alone and while wandering outside meets her ex-boyfriend, Adrian (Ron Livingston). He takes her to his grandmother's home and while there she is able to touch him. Paul finds the other 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 out to go see music with her. Afterwards they go back to his apartment where Jenny asks him to kiss her and he turns her down telling her he loves Abby. Jenny falls asleep at his home and in the 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 hearing her talk about it.[4]

Ellen Page joined the cast after Catherine Keener mentioned that Shelton was interested in working with her during the filming of An American Crime.[5] According to Page, though there was a script, a good deal of the dialogue was improvised.[6]


Touchy Feely received mixed reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 36%, based on 56 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."[7] On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 55 out of 100, based on 18 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[8]


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