Thursday, February 21, 2013

Touchy Feely Film Review!

I am sorry I have not been posting, I have been buisy with other stuffs. Anyway, In January (yes I am talking way back in January) I went to the Sundance film festival in Park City, Utah. I went with my film class, but was able to go wherever I wanted whenever I wanted. Yes, my school is unique in the way that I rarely saw teachers on this trip, and was allowed to go to whatever film I wanted to attend. It was a fun trip that I hope to attend next year.

Apart from that, I saw this one film at Sundance that really stood out to me. I am writing my evaluation for the trip (essay on what I learned and experienced on the trip) and started to write a review of this amazing film. The film is called "Touchy Feely", and I would like to share the review with you all. I am no professional in reviewing films, so keep in mind that while reading. It is cut out of my full evaluation, so it starts with the word "Speaking of" Just  ignore that. If you want my true oppinion, skip to the bottom two paragraphs.

Touchy Feely  a review by a me (17yrs)

Speaking of connecting with a film, one of my favorite movies was a film called “Touchy Feely.” I had been looking forward to this film and was nervous it would not live up to my expectations, but it easily did. The film is a compilation of three peoples stories, the main story being about a massage therapist who develops an aversion to touching skin. Beside this story, the film shows the life of her (the massage therapist) introverted, and boring brother. Throughout the film he learns to enjoy life, and to give his daughter freedom in choosing her own path through life. The other story beside those is the story of the woman’s, brothers, daughter, and how she does not want to disappoint her father, but learns to tell him what she really wants. Although the story sounds unique, it is rather bland, and many reviewers gave the film a low rating because of its slight dullness. However, if you can see through the blandness to unique points that are made in the film, you can see that beautiful ideas are conveyed in Touchy “Feely”.
Although lacking a great plot, the acting, and filming was stellar. The actor Josh Pais played the brother in this film, and pulled off a solid performance. He has a quirky appearance, which perfectly fit the part of this socially awkward, and over all generally awkward character. He was able to keep the character the same throughout the film, while showing relief, confusion, joy, and sadness at different points in the movie. They could not have cast anyone better for the part.
The second amazing actress playing in this film was the ever adorable, and incredibly talented Ellen Page. I have loved Ellen’s acting since I saw her hit film “Juno” in 2007. Ellen had a smaller part in “Touchy Feely” where she played the daughter. Although her part was small, she put emotion into every moment, and how she was feeling came across very smoothly. It would have been easy for her to over act the part, but she kept her actions gentle, and let the other actors take the stage. I was impressed with her ability to work conservatively, and assume she is a great actress to work with. Her part was played well, and I enjoyed seeing her in a minimal but key position.
Rosemarie DeWitt is the actress who plays the protagonist, massage therapist. Her performance topped the rest in the sense that she had to portray so many different emotions to define her mental downfall. The most beautiful performance she does, is illustrating anxiety. When her character developed a sudden aversion to touching skin, Rosemarie was able to act out anxiety. As a person who has anxiety, I could easily relate, and while watching other films let me down with their view of anxiety, I was thrilled with the performance in “Touchy Feely”. I do believe someone making the film had anxiety, to be able to have such an accurate depiction. A main struggle for many people with anxiety is the confusion that comes with it. People without anxiety may not realize this, but in the film, Rosemarie showed the emotion of utter confusion of why this happened to her. Confusion may just as well be the most defining piece of the term anxiety, so I was very glad that was a big part of the film. She tries to fight her fear, and continue with her massage career, but this results in a panic attack, and breakdown. She is able to pack all of these emotions; scared, confused, and sad, into a single scene, which is incredibly beautiful, and relatable. I have never seen a film represent basic struggles in such a perfect way. I was far more than impressed with Rosemarie’s performance, and look forward to seeing other films featuring her.
Another beautiful part of the film “Touchy Feely” was the creative filming. There were two specific things that the director did with the filming, one was playing with the cameras focus, and the other was doing extreme close-ups. The part about the focus was very interesting to me, as I have never seen it so intense, in other films. What I mean by playing with focus was that many scenes had a main focal point, and the four edges of the scene were blurred. It was beautiful, and unique. Recently I was inspired to buy a video camera, and was looking for one with a manual focus, so I could make films in the way “Touchy Feely” was done. The close-ups were another fun feature in the film. Often extremely close filming can be seen in science documentaries, but rarely in a drama. The director used a high magnifying camera lens, to capture different visuals in the film, mainly skin. Showing the skin close up was a way let people see how Rosemarie’s character is feeling, and to see how strange skin really looks. The close-ups were an interesting and beautiful way to put the audience in the position of the characters. I was very impressed with the bold choices of filming, and can say it was the most enjoyable “filming” to watch at the Sundance festival.
The film sucked me in and swallowed me whole, as I watched in pure amazement. It was not intense, or scary, or upsetting, it was just plain old lovely. Many films chosen to show at the festival are often very invigorating, and important, and I can absolutely say that this is a calm film that brought an indie style to the genre: Drama. Needless to say, the film can be, and should be, looked into deeper. Below the surface, this film portrays anxiety, emotion, family relationships, independence, and trust. They are important, and are well represented in the film. Even though it is not as dramatic as people going through serious tragedy, the everyday struggles, for a middle class family, are beautifully illustrated.
There is much more to the film “Touchy Feely” than what is written here, and I absolutely recommend seeing it. As long as the audience can see past the light storyline, it is a stunning film that people can relate to. I connected so deeply with this film that I waited till many of the people in the audience exited the theatre, so I could give praise to the writer director, Lynn Shelton. I was sweating, and shaking as I walked up to thank her for illustrating anxiety, and for making a great film. As I got my turn to talk to her I was out of my mind afraid. I gave her a brief praising, told her I had anxiety and related to the film, did the classic drop my paper because I am so nervous, and thanked her again and then casually ran out the door. She said thanks to my praise prior to my departure, but I was too afraid to stick around. If anything, the amount of courage I put into walking up to the director, should show that I really loved the film, and absolutely recommend it. I am unsure if “Touchy Feely” has been picked up yet, I truly hope it has so I can see it again, and add it to my list of favorite films. I forgot to mention the amazing soundtrack, and do want to recognize that it was perfect.

I should have underlined the movie title, sorry about that

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