Showing Up is a quiet and candid drama directed by Kelly Reichardt, and featuring her frequent collaborator Michelle Williams in the lead role. This film represents a significant departure from Reichardt’s previous works in its substance, mood, and approach, marking it as a great movie despite its seemingly minor-key emotional register.
The film follows the story of Lizzy (Williams), an experienced female artist struggling to make and sustain a place in the professional realm of her art. Reichardt deftly weaves together the ethical and economic concerns of the art world into the fabric of Lizzy’s journey, creating a film that bursts with expansive creative energy.
Reichardt’s audiovisual inventiveness is on full display in Showing Up as she directs with a newly uninhibited style that makes the film feel like a living experience rather than a scripted delivery. The camera moves with a simultaneous sense of giddy adornment and narrative necessity, expressing the creative joy that fuels Lizzy’s artistic drive.
One particularly memorable moment sees Lizzy wandering onto her patio deck, gazing out into the street as her landlord and fellow artist Jo (Hong Chai, superb) takes a tire from the bed of her pickup truck and rolls it exuberantly down the street. The camera glides along with her, capturing the sense of freedom and spontaneity that Lizzy yearns for, even as she struggles to finish her art in time for her upcoming show.
In Showing Up Reichardt has gifted us a thoughtful gem that deftly captures the struggles of an artist and the creative spark that fuels their work. With a quietly compelling performance from Michelle Williams and the deft direction of Reichardt herself, this film is not to be missed – especially in the UK where it is inexplicably bypassing cinemas.
Showing Up is on limited release in the US now, and is coming to streaming later in the year in the UK.