Co-writer/editor/director Kelly Reichardt and lead actress Michelle Williams collaborate for the fourth time on Showing Up. Following their hardened drama Certain Women, Showing Up is a dramedy about an artist on the verge of a breakout.

Williams plays Lizzy, who focuses on her ceramics in the middle of Portland’s art college life, She is days away from a showcase but has too much on her plate. Lizzy has had no running hot water for two weeks and a wounded pigeon she because her cat attacked it. The struggle of getting her divorced parents and brother to come to her show makes it more challenging for Lizzy to be excited for her moment.

Showing Up A24 Kelly Reichardt

In the traditional Reichardt style, Showing Up is a minimalist mood piece that focuses on actions and reactions. Her neighbor, landlord, and fellow artist Jo (Hong Chau) is too busy to fix the water heater because of her own showcase. While Lizzy works with her mother (Maryann Plunkett) as an admin, she worries about her dad (Judd Hirsch) and her isolated brother (John Magaro), who is clearly struggling with some form of mental illness. Everyone is an artist here, but Showing Up lacks a more thorough backstory. Much is left unsaid, but what is missing is sorely needed.

Certain moments go dull in the connections of each character’s role around Lizzy. In Reichardt’s style, things are more ambiguous. It is not that important to delve into something that can go off-course from her story. However, getting ambiguous on multiple aspects becomes frustrating and leaves us wanting to know more.

Showing Up

This is a tight-knit community where it seems almost everyone knows everybody. All types of art are shown to us (the film was shot on the campus of the now-defunct Oregon College of Art and Craft) with known professionals who actually made the authentic work seen in the movie. Yet, we do not get to know them.

I liked the film enough to be positive about it, but it surely could have been more developed. Some characters, such as one with Andre Benjamin in the role, are small pieces. Even though some things can be interpreted through all the details Reichardt lays out, it becomes too silent for those who may not have the instinctive eye or taste of Reichardt’s style. Like a painting or sculpture, it is pretty to look at, but the film doesn’t really follow through with bringing out all the goods. Showing Up only gives us samples of an artistic pastry dish.

Brian’s Rating: 6/10

What did you think of Showing Up? Let us know in the comments below! Showing Up opens in limited release on April 7th, 2023. It expands nationwide in the following weeks. A24 distributes.

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