SXSW Film Review: Best and Most Beautiful Things

Sometimes you find community in unexpected places

Named for a Helen Keller quote ("The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart."), this documentary follows a young woman whose indomitable spirit directs her life path far more than her differently-abled body.

Legally blind and diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, 20-year-old Michelle is struggling to gain the independence necessary to move out of her mom’s house. She's quirky and quick-witted, and her charm is infectious, despite feeling like an outcast whose exploration of the world is thwarted by circumstance. The filmmaking team does a wonderful job lending insight into the blurry shapes and abrasive sounds she encounters daily with their fascinating cinematography and an original score. And they humanize her disability through entertaining storytelling - her Hello Kitty and Thomas the Tank Engine obsession, the difficulty of family strife, and the delightful awkwardness of a new relationship. Even more though, it's the powerful scenes of conflict and the equally important relief from isolation that arrives when Michelle begins to find her own community in the world of fetish and kink that make this a great watch. (Humor certainly makes itself useful too: Imagine your parents finding a flogger or handcuffs in your room.) Touching on sexuality, self-realization, and a support system that encourages empowerment, Best and Most Beautiful Things nails the idea that “normal” is very overrated.

Best and Most Beautiful Things

Documentary Feature Competition, World Premiere
Tuesday, March 15, 11:30am, Rollins Theatre
Wednesday, March 16, 7:45pm, Stateside

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