You could say that what the film is about lies just beyond the reach of images or words. It’s a necessarily cerebral meditation on the nature of physicality.
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It’s not that every film has to achieve some grand epiphany, but Touch Me Not is not nearly as satisfying as the primal act it’s obsessed with.
Touch Me Not points towards all manner of holistic truths, but leaves them all frustratingly out of reach.
Though not every moment is fascinating to watch, most moments are, and adult audiences should find its frank presentation of the diversity of intimacy thought-provoking and possibly therapeutic.
The surprise winner of the Berlinale’s Golden Bear is a film not easily summed up in an elevator pitch. It is, however, a studious, intelligent, if flawed and scattershot, work with an open mind about modern sexuality and intimacy. That open mind will need to be replicated in the audience too.
Pintilie is the opposite of a misanthrope — she’s genuinely invested in opening the mind to the body’s sensations. Keeping it all balanced is where she gets bogged down.
Less a narrative than an explorative essay, as artificial as it is self-involved, lacking any discernible sense of humor, occasionally a bit silly in execution yet deeply, rigidly earnest in intent, and laboring under that aggravatingly prim, Victorian title: It really does everything it can to make you hate it.
Touch Me Not‘s commingling of narrator and narrative, character and actor, fiction and documentary suggests that cinema itself is capable of being a manner of touch, the site of a nebulous and freeing encounter between people.
People will want to make their own minds up about the film, but for me there is something worryingly crass and naive in it.
The film does praiseworthy work when it comes to challenging accepted assumptions about what constitutes beauty and sexuality. It does so, however, through a degree of physical and emotional oversharing which some audiences will find deeply off-putting.