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

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Sign up for our South By-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
SXSW Gaming: Noclip Says Love Your Developers
SXSW Gaming: Noclip Says Love Your Developers
Danny O’Dwyer wants you to understand who is making your games

Tucker Whatley, March 16, 2019

SXSW Film Review: <i>The Day Shall Come</i>
Film Review: The Day Shall Come
British satirist Chris Morris takes aim at security theater

Richard Whittaker, March 16, 2019

More by Jessi Cape
Armadillo World Headquarters Cookbook Unearthed by SouthPop!
Armadillo World Headquarters Cookbook Unearthed by SouthPop!
Micael Priest compiled the recipes; David Byrne loved the nachos

March 9, 2019

Flamingo Cantina Opens CBD Bodega and Coffee Shop
Flamingo Cantina Opens CBD Bodega and Coffee Shop
Flamingo Hemp offers various hemp oil products and espresso drinks

March 7, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

SXSW 2016, SXSW Film 2016, SXSW, Best and Most Beautiful Things

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle