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Parents' Guide to

Showing Up

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Michelle Williams shines in drab art dramedy; male nudity.

Movie R 2023 108 minutes
Showing Up Movie Poster: Michelle Williams peers over a table at several colorful sculptures of women

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+

Introspective art movie

This is a quiet art movie that will make you feel inadequate, and this is intentional. Michelle Williams plays a sculptor preparing to open a new show. She seems mildly depressed, and as scenes from her life unfold, the audience feels this too. She balances her creative life with daily dramas from her complicated family, and navigates this with quiet resolve. The movie skillfully immerses the audience in the creative but strange world of an art school. The tone of the movie is quiet, and the drama is subdued. Long takes on modern art thru the eyes of the characters make the art subtly vibrant and meaningful. But meanings in this movie are intentionally cryptic. This movie is like a Dutch still life or portrait. You have to observe patiently. William’s character wears unflattering clothing, and seems to be uncomfortable with beauty ( certainly her own). But her sculptures are all of “women in motion” with intense colors. This movie is a character study, and the viewer has to watch carefully to see what the point is. “You’ve got to listen to what’s not being said”, says a major character in the film. Patience is required to watch this film, but the reward is 2 hours of immersion in the life of a quiet, complicated sculptor.

This title has:

Educational value

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

While there's deep complexity in this character study, it's such a quiet little movie that it seems like very little happens. Writer-director Kelly Reichardt offers viewers an opportunity to do something we typically only joke about: watch paint dry. Lizzy may defy some people's idea of the colorful lives that they imagine artists live: Lizzy is drab, her life is boring, and many teens will find her work uninteresting, none of which will help keep younger viewers engaged.

On the other hand, Williams is marvelous in her portrayal of a woman who's pushed to the side by her family and friends, always the lower priority. It takes some maturity and sophistication to see everything that's between the strokes. Lizzy is creating something out of nothing -- her art and her life -- and that's not always splashy or dynamic, but the quality is up to the creator.

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