Gabrielle, a young woman with development challenges, lives in a group home and has a genuine talent for music. Meeting a young man names Martin at a choir she is a part of, they fall quickly in love – the kind of puppy dog love only the young can find. Gabrielle’s sister embraces the relationship, while Martin’s mother does not, splitting the two of them up. Gabrielle goes on a quest to find her independence and create a life for herself, but that path isn’t easy for anyone, especially when the deck seems stacked against you.

Gabrielle is anchored by the truly brave performance of Gabrielle Marion-Rivard. Portraying Gabrielle as a girl on the brink of womanhood (regardless of her physical age), her emotions are never far from the surface, frequently with an infectious joy that makes viewers weep when it is absent. Depicting the everyday life of a woman with Williams syndrome (which she has in real life), she struggles to work through the challenges inherent in being different, especially those imposed on her by her own limitations. Her performance is simply so packed with dancing moments of reality that it is difficult to grasp that the film might end; you will want it to go on forever.

Beyond this brilliant performance, the most important thing about this film is the way it handles traditional attitudes about people living with developmental challenges and how society treats them. Never preachy, never scolding, Gabrielle will make you look at people different from yourself as simply different, not less than you.