Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Touchy Feely

Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Touchy Feely

Article excerpt

Touchy Feely

Directed by Lynn Shelton

U.S. Dramatic

Touchy Feely is the story of Abby and her brother, Paul. She is a massage therapist who seems to be a free spirit. Paul is a dentist who is about as uptight as a person can be. He is controlling, dependent, and compulsive. As long as things remain the same, he can "get through" life until he dies. But neither is who he or she seems to be. It is Abby's boyfriend, Jesse, and Paul's daughter, Jenny, who set in motion the events that will change the lives of Abby and Paul, and the lives of Jesse and Jenny as well. We discover later in the film that Jenny has a serious crush on Jesse, who is her aunt's boyfriend.

When Jesse invites Abby to move in with him, she reluctantly agrees. But, in the end she is not able to do so, and from that point on she is unable to give any client a massage-she also is unable to touch or be touched by Jesse. You might think that this is a simple fear of commitment, but in fact it has more to do with unfinished business. Since Abby is unable to move in with Jesse, she moves in with her brother instead. Paul's dental practice is failing, but he seems unable to do anything about it. Jenny gets Paul to give her friend, Henry, a free cleaning. After the cleaning, Henry is cured of his TMJ and is able to sing again and pursue his musical career. Word gets out that Paul has the healing touch and his practice picks up, as people are looking to cure their TMJ.

When a client realizes that he has not been cured-Paul never claims to have the ability to cure anyone-he angrily confronts Paul and Paul's practice begins to fail again. Both Abby and Paul are now in big trouble-neither one is able to earn a living. At this point, each takes a tablet of Ecstacy given to Abby by her hippy mentor to help her lighten up. On Ecstacy, Abby encounters an old boyfriend, her first love. And in that encounter she is able to reach out and touch his hand. Oddly, this is her healing touch, not the massage therapy she has been practicing. …

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