By Mark Fields

The director and co-writer of Showing Up, Kelly Reichardt, has made her cinema career with quiet, almost miniature stories that explore lives that wouldn’t ordinarily be on the screen: First Cow, Meek’s Cutoff, and my favorite, Wendy and Lucy. These films — acutely observed slices of daily life — are admittedly an acquired taste (I enjoyed the film, my three guests were unimpressed). Her new feature, the latest of many collaborations with actress Michelle Williams, depicts a week in the life of aspiring sculptor Lizzy and her Portland community of fellow artists, friends, and family. Lizzy is preparing for a new exhibition of her art (small scale renderings of women), and finds no end of distractions tearing her away from the work. Like other Reichardt films, Showing Up starts with little fanfare and just ends (rather than comes to any solid conclusion), but in between are wonderful moments of human interaction more real and heartfelt than your standard summer blockbuster. Williams, always a reliably captivating actor, well captures Lizzy’s insecurities and frustrations. She is ably supported by a cast that includes Hong Chau, Andre Benjamin, Maryann Plunkett, and Judd Hirsch. This movie is not for everybody; it lacks any stunning effects, otherworldly landscapes, or caped heroics. But if one can find resonance in a subtle exploration of humanity, Showing Up could be a modest revelation.

Mark Fields
Mark Fields has reviewed movies for Out & About since October 2008. In addition, he has written O&A profiles of documentarian Harry Shearer and actress Aubrey Plaza. Over the years, Mark also has written on film for several publications in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and his home state of Indiana, where he also served as on-air movie critic for Indianapolis’s public radio station. Mark was an adjunct instructor of film history at Rowan University from 1998 to 2018. A career arts administrator, he retired in fall 2021 after 16 years as an executive at Wilmington’s Grand Opera House. Mark now leads bike tours part-time and is working on a screenplay. He lives in Trolley Square with his partner Wendy. Mark spent the fastest 22 minutes of his life as an unsuccessful contestant on Jeopardy…sadly, there were no movie questions.