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

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 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  

SXSW Looks Queer in 2019
SXSW Looks Queer in 2019
Latest round of speakers include Laura Jane Grace and Lance Bass

Sarah Marloff, Nov. 27, 2018

SXSW Gets Virtual
SXSW Gets Virtual
VR film pioneer Jessica Brillhart announced as 2019 keynote

Richard Whittaker, Nov. 27, 2018

More by Jessi Cape
Kerbey Lane Cafe Opens in Mueller Tomorrow
Kerbey Lane Cafe Opens in Mueller Tomorrow
Get your breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner on

Dec. 6, 2018

CBD-Centric Gifts to Keep Your Holidays Chilled Out
CBD-Centric Gifts to Keep Your Holidays Chilled Out
Seven ways to calm the hell down during this stress-filled season

Dec. 7, 2018


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

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