Lynn Shelton, director of Humpday, returns with her third feature, Touchy Feely which tells the story of a masseuse who suffers an aversion to skin whilst her older dentist brother starts showing signs of healing powers; whilst both suffer crisis of confidence, their closest relationships with boyfriend and daughter respectively suffer.
In the same vein of atypical American independent cinema, Shelton sets up a family dynamic with the two siblings and their problematic relationships, yet Shelton is also able to tell us more about the characters by way of their profession.
When Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt) suffers this aversion to touching clients, she feels lost as it is the only thing profession she has had in her adult life. The same came be said of her humdrum brother Paul (Josh Pais) who has only ever been a dentist and does not want to be anything other than a practising orthodontist, yet the people coming to his surgery means he misses the needs of his daughter expertly portrayed by Ellen Page.
The semi-improvised dialogue between the four main players gives the film a genuine feel of authenticity helped by the natural cadence of the acting, unfortunately the pay-off comes short of justifying our investment in these characters.
This is a shame as Shelton again shows herself to be an assured hand in proceedings, however like a predecessor Nicole Holofcener (Lovely and Amazing, Enough Said) perhaps Shelton needs to get more personal for her work to crossover to the mainstream.
Touchy Feely is out Friday 16th May