Disclaimer: This post is not meant to be a review of documentaries in general or whether they could have dived deeper into Michele’s story and sex and disability in general. (Spoiler: Of course they could have.) Center for Positive Sexuality is not a group who claims to be film critics. This is one person’s opinion based on one viewing of this film.
As a sex educator, I am always eager to see sex positive films that portray closer-to-accurate experiences around sex and relationships. I’m aware that time is limited in the film format and some movie magic is guaranteed. When the Center was contacted about Best and Most Beautiful Things I happily checked out the trailer and my interest was piqued. Luckily, my schedule worked out such that I was going to be in Santa Monica one evening during its Los Angeles run.
I’ll cut right to the chase: I loved Best and Most Beautiful Things. I loved the documentary style. The story is endearing, heartfelt, and relatable. I was under the impression that the BDSM element was going to take up more storyline, but I appreciate how it was incorporated in a way that shows it is important to Michelle and her journey, but isn’t necessarily everything. This is usually the case with people in kink/BDSM communities overall. Alternative sexualities (BDSM, nonmonogamy/polyamory, and others) may not be the core for all who identify under this vast umbrella, but it is for some. Regardless if these alternative sexualities are central to a person’s identity, in many cases, it is an important part of who they are.¹ It was lovely to see that these spaces (kink and queer spaces) allowed Michelle to find community, feel less isolated, and more herself.
I would have liked to have seen more about her trip to Los Angeles (for a lofty dream of becoming a voice actress that basically fizzled out), but that was sort of glossed over.
Without giving anything away, one of my favorite scenes is where Michelle’s mom spots a strap of some sort peaking out from under Michelle’s bed. She says something like “What’s with this luggage strap?” And Michelle (in a way that’s typical for an early 20-something living at home) is mortified and shrieks that it isn’t a luggage strap and do you really want to know what it is?!?! [Spoiler alert: It’s an under the bed bondage/restraint system.] I literally laughed out loud.
All in all, Best and Most Beautiful things is a sweet documentary. I highly recommend it. I would love to see more movies and documentaries take as much care to tell a story and make the effort to be sex positive.
Best and Most Beautiful things is still touring. Look for screenings near you.
Documentary. 1 hour 30 minutes.
1 – Referenced above: BDSM as Leisure Journal for Positive Sexuality Vol. 1, Nov. 2015