Selma Blair’s face may instantly look familiar at first glance: serious, beautiful and vaguely spooky, a welcome surprise in any number of movies you’ve seen, often as a quieter foil to the main character. There is an unknowable quality, you might say, to many of the characters Blair has portrayed on-screen. But the first few moments of the new documentary “Introducing, Selma Blair” memorably deliver just what the title promises. In her bathroom at home in Los Angeles, looking sick and exhausted but still old-Hollywood glamorous in a turban and a leopard-print dress, Blair begins to put on lipstick the color of a black cherry.

“Kim Kardashian sent me some makeup. I’m gonna do a shout-out to her, because God knows, no one knows who she is,” Blair deadpans into the mirror, “and I’m just trying to get this girl a little support.”

“Introducing, Selma Blair,” directed by Rachel Fleit and streaming on Discovery Plus starting Thursday, follows Blair over two years as she seeks a cure — or even an effective remedy — for the multiple sclerosis (MS) that has inflamed her body and affected her movement and speech patterns since 2018. (As Blair wrote in an Instagram caption that year and repeats in the film, “My left side is asking for directions from a broken GPS.”)

A documentary about a prolonged, ugly battle with an autoimmune disease isn’t how most actresses, most likely Blair included, would want to finally get their well-deserved moment in the spotlight. But the poignant “Introducing” gives Selma Blair the starring turn it’s clear she’s always deserved — as herself.

Within minutes of her disarming first appearance, as Blair grows serious talking about being disabled and in the public eye, her speech begins to slur uncontrollably. Frustrated, she blames the slurring on her fatigue before she eventually gives up and gazes at the camera, eyes tired under her extravagant headwear. “I don’t have anything more,” she says softly. The real Blair, these opening minutes seem to inform the viewer, is an entity you’ve never seen before: wry, provocative, dramatic and vulnerable, a mesmerizing spectacle all by herself.

The film puts Blair’s quick, off-the-cuff sense of humor on vibrant display. One scene finds her deciding to spend all of her last remaining energy for the day playing dodgeball and dancing with her 10-year-old son, Arthur. She pops her hips energetically to Usher’s “Yeah!,” then collapses into a giggle and tells the camera, “You can’t twerk with MS.” Later, she explains to the camera that she has not once but twice accidentally purchased a sex toy when trying to buy a small vibrating massager to soothe the inflammation in her face. She then cheekily proceeds to massage her face with the sex toy.

Before Blair leaves for Chicago to receive treatment at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, she remarks that she’s “heard your gums recede like crazy.” With a twinkle-eyed straight face, she adds, “Maybe I’ll finally have big teeth.” In the hospital, bald from chemotherapy and in managed isolation after a stem-cell transplant, Blair hovers over half a watermelon and hungrily slurps from a spoon. “God, I feel like I’m in the Tom Hanks movie where he’s stranded on an island,” she says. “And I’m eating Wilson.”

While “Introducing” reveals Blair to be a winking, smirking, surprisingly winsome patient, it also reveals an inner life that makes her a more complex character than any she’s ever played on-screen. Many of her unhappinesses in life, the film reveals, have stemmed from a difficult relationship with her mother, Molly. “My mom really tethered a darkness to me that I thought only my suffering could please her,” Blair recalls. “My mom always said, ‘You’re not meant to be a mother. You’re not meant to be married.’ That stuff gets in you.” After seeing Blair’s big-break performance in “Cruel Intentions,” Blair says, her mother’s only reaction was to exasperatedly ask if she really had to use so much tongue kissing Sarah Michelle Gellar. And while Blair recovers from treatment in Chicago, Molly sends along a note reminding Blair to ask the doctor when she might be able to get a facial.

Shortly after Molly dies in 2020, Blair dials her phone number and leaves a voice mail. “Mom, you know how you told me I was maudlin before?” Blair laughs through sobs. “You ain’t seen nothing yet. You’re dead!” When “Introducing, Selma Blair” splices in footage of Blair’s mother as a young woman, her mannerisms and movements are so like Blair’s it’s almost eerie.

In “Introducing,” Blair makes a pair of admissions that are enough to make a viewer feel suddenly wistful: She never truly felt motivated to be the best actress she could be, and she originally wanted to be a writer. “I thought I wanted to be a writer, and I so idolized my English teacher,” she said. The English teacher saw her perform in a play and said she was destined to be an actress instead. “I was devastated,” Blair says with a melancholy chuckle.

In the moment, it’s easy to wish Blair had wound up with a different career entirely — one where her quips, recollections and insights could be showcased, uproariously and heartbreakingly, in a one-woman show, perhaps, or an essay collection. Now that Blair’s MS is, as of recently, in remission, let us hope she’ll treat audiences to more of her work as herself.

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