In SHOWING UP, Kelly Reichardt’s immersive, enchanting consideration of life among a circle of Portland artists, Lizzy (Michelle Williams) and Jo (Hong Chau) sustain a very casual sense of everyday competitiveness. Lizzy is working on a show with a deadline fast approaching. She’d also like to take a shower, but the hot water is out. Fixing it is Jo’s responsibility—she’s Lizzy’s landlord as well as a friend—but she can’t get to it because, as she reminds Lizzy, “I have two shows.”
Lizzy—something of a “trapped badger… [with] displaced anxiety,” as Reichardt describes it—is a graphic designer at an art school under the supervision of her mother (Maryann Plunkett). Her studio work is comprised of delicate watercolor studies of young women in suspended movement and her subsequent ceramic sculptures are just as quiet. “There’s a little arrested development there,” admits Reichardt, but Lizzy seems happy with the work (“so beautiful”) and, for now, not particularly anxious to break out of her routine.
SHOWING UP takes place over the course of a few eventful summer days in 2018. Jo’s opening—featuring her large, freeform assemblages of found materials—an encounter with Lizzy’s crazed-genius brother Sean (John Magaro), and Lizzy’s eventual presentation of her work mark just some of the complications within this creative community. “There’s a lot of Black Mountain College” in the film, says Reichardt, for which she reopened and repopulated the shuttered Oregon College of Art and Craft, bringing in students and filming their process. Suffused with the aesthetic and sensibility of the artists in Reichardt’s life, SHOWING UP is a beautifully rendered work of living and making.*
See cinema links below for details.
Written by Kelly Reichardt and Jon Raymond
Directed by Kelly Reichardt
700 West 7th Street, The Bloc, downtown Los Angeles
673 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena
322 Americana Way, Glendale
Played April 14 through April 20:
189 The Grove Drive, Fairfax District, Los Angeles
10250 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Los Angeles
125 East Palm Avenue, Burbank
Kelly Reichardt quotes from the American Cinematheque screening of Showing Up, followed by a conversation with Reichardt and Karyn Kusama, March 23, 2023, Aero Theatre, Santa Monica.
*In the film, Lizzy’s work is by Cynthia Lahti and Jo’s by Michelle Segre.
Kelly Reichardt, Showing Up (2023), from top: Michelle Williams; Hong Chau; Williams and Ricky; Showing Up, U.S. poster; André Benjamin and Chau; Maryann Plunkett and Williams; Williams and Chau.
Film stills by Allyson Riggs, courtesy and © Crazed Glaze and A24.