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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Distractions, frustrations, and unexpected emergencies are part of life -- it's up to us to find a way to persevere and achieve our goals. Theme of making something out of nothing, both in art and in life.
Positive Role Models
Lizzy is responsible, perseverant, and thoughtful of others, but this isn't reflected as positive, since her behavior isn't reciprocated.
Female-driven story co-written by female writer/director/editor. Central character is White (Michelle Williams); an aspirational artist is played by Vietnamese American actor Hong Chau. Several supporting characters who work in the art world are Black. A supporting character is living with mental illness.
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Violence & Scariness
Cat injures a bird, shown in a dark light.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Long, unmoving shot of full-frontal male nudity by an artist's model during class.
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"Ass" is said once.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Verbal reference to smoking by aspirational character. Wine served at an event.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Showing Up is a quiet slice-of-life character study about Lizzy (Michelle Williams), a sculptor who works at an art college and lives alone with her cat. Lizzy is responsible and compassionate, and others take advantage of that, pushing their issues on to her. With discussion, parents can highlight that life is full of distractions and frustrations, and that it's up to us to find ways to set boundaries and stay focused to reach our goals. Keeping in mind that the movie's setting is an art school, be ready for a fully nude male model posing for a figure drawing class. Language is limited to "ass," wine is served at an event, and there's a verbal reference to smoking. The film marks the fourth collaboration between Williams and writer-director Kelly Reichardt. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
Movies with Strong Female Characters
Movies with Inspiring Black Girls and Women
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate