Michelle Smith is a smart and vibrant young woman who is legally blind and has Asperger's syndrome. She has friends at the Perkin's School for the Blind but sees herself basically as an outsider. She finds joy in her doll collection, her cat, and her dreams about the future. As she notes optimistically, "I'm ready for the uncensored world."
After graduation, she starts to look for a job, a daunting challenge given her disabilities. But good fortune comes her way when the Los Angeles production company behind Rugrats in Los Angeles contacts her and offers her a possible internship as a voice actress. One of her former teachers warns Michelle about this swift transition into the wider world after years in the safe refuge of her school and living at home with her divorced mother:
"It's almost like being on the escalator and coming up and being shot out, and all of a sudden you have to catch your bearings, because now you're on your own."
Michelle flies to Los Angeles for a visit but realizes that it will be impossible for her to live in a place with so little public transportation. But instead of sinking into a deep funk, she rises on the wings of her resiliency. She negotiates a new relationship with her mother and her new boyfriend. She visits her father and two brothers. With her nerdy boyfriend, she decides to explore kinky sex and even attends a BDSM group party.
There are moments in this documentary, which follows Michelle for six years, when we find ourselves drawn unexpectedly into a deep sense of what life is like for her. Her family urges her to go to her brother's basketball game to support him, and she sits on the bench, clearly miserable because she can't follow what's happening amid all the loud noises. Another time she proudly delivers a routine at a club explaining why she is proud to not be a "normal person."
Garrett Zevgetis does a fine job orchestrating the events of this illuminating documentary about a young woman whose disabilities do not hold her back from making a confident transition into the brave new world of independent living. The thought-provoking quotation which animated this project and provided its title is from Helen Keller:
"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt in the heart."