On my playlist of heartstrings pop culled from twelve-hour dance competition video shifts, there's a song by Ingrid Michaelson called “Light Me Up" with this line: "you taught me what life is for / to see that ordinary isn’t.”
Perfectly Normal begins with a similar sentiment, and leaves it behind to move into more compelling territory. “There’s no such thing as completely normal,” its subject speaks over street sounds to open the short doc, which uses the visual language of the mundane to illustrate how daily life happens for a man who lives with Aspberger’s. In Jordan's world, ordinary is not something to transcend or defeat, but a treasure. Dream sequences depict routine tasks. “There’s no such thing as completely normal,” Jordan speaks over street sounds to open the film. The first things we see him do are wash his car and button his shirt.
Joris Debeig paints Jordan's life as an intimacy with the ordinary. He's a man who lives with his girlfriend in late middle-age and persists in creating order, an agent of wellness for people on the autism spectrum and humans in general. Routine and independence are shown through shots of Jordan alone, in either dutiful or deeply thoughtful stances. We see him chewing a lot, considering. When he is not shown alone he is in command. He steadfastly returns his girlfriend Toni’s repeated genuine yet perhaps Tourettes-agitated “I love yous" and takes the lead in putting grocery items back that the couple can’t afford.
Besides Jordan’s commentary on social difficulty, we are left only with a vague notion of the internal struggles he faces. It is a film about ability, not disability. And it's a film about love, definitely. When Jordan and Toni wear similar colors, and when the water running in the sink where Toni is doing dishes sounds like comfort, his dreams — his day-to-day — are felt.