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Showing Up ★★★★



Released: Out now on digital platforms

Director: Kelly Reichardt

Starring: Michelle Williams, Hong Chau, Judd Hirsch, John Magaro, Maryann Plunkett, André Benjamin

Kelly Reichardt has earned a wealth of acclaim on the Indie circuit over the past 30 years with an eclectic set of films, straddling multiple genres. Her films are often meditative and character driven. One of the most crucial collaborations of Reichardt’s career has been with Michelle Williams across Meek’s Cutoff and Certain Women. Showing Up is the pair’s fourth collaboration, with Williams playing Lizzy a sculptor and arts administrator assistant for her mother.

The main crux of the story centres on an exhibition of Lizzy’s work, largely consisting of clay sculptures of women in happy or anguished movements. This is a far cry from the usual depictions of art in cinema and while it may feel slow to some, it seems true to life with Lizzy having to navigate the trials and tribulations life brings and its mundane moments. One of the reoccurring subplots is her somewhat frosty relationship with rival artist Jo (Hong Chau) who is also her landlady. Lizzy’s flat has no hot water and so this is a continuing source of frustration across the runtime.

As with other Reichardt films like the underappreciated First Cow, it is a joy to luxuriate and wallow in her world, bringing a sense of truth and reality that few other directors can bring. Williams is a delight as Lizzy, withdrawn and perpetually frustrated, a far cry from her more extroverted role in The Fabelmans, this is also an advert for how well the two suit each other. Hong Chau whose star continues to rise is a fine foil, with the scenes between her and Williams a delight to behold, two actors sparring wonderfully. John Magaro, another Reichardt regular is also a fun supporting role as her brother Sean with Judd Hirsch as the pair’s father.

Lizzy uses her art as a way to escape her isolated, Portland life and a heartwarming extended sequence sees her caring for an injured pigeon, almost dialogue-free but full of warmth and subtle joy.

It is a crying shame it hasn’t had a wider release in the UK, premiering at Cannes to acclaim in 2022. It is getting a digital and physical release but without a wide cinema run. It is well worth viewers’ time and will hopefully find an audience of some sort.

Showing Up is another winner for Kelly Reichardt, following on from the stellar First Cow. It again exemplifies how brilliant a partnership she has with Michelle Williams who delivers another beautiful, subdued leading role. This is a delightful little slice of Indie Cinema, reflecting on the highs and lows of art.

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