Michelle Schumacher Demonstrates Female Gaze in ‘I’m Not Here’

Still Michelle Schumacher I’m Not Here.

Happy Birthday, Michelle Schumacher! Today we celebrate Schumacher’s career, from Broadway actress to director! Specifically her film, I’m Not Here.

I’m Not Here stars Schumacher’s husband, J.K. Simmons, as well as Sebastian Stan, Maika Monroe, Mandy Moore, Max Greenfield and Iain Armitage. The story follows Steve, played at different ages by Simmons, Stan and Armitage, as he copes with his tragic past while trying to make sense of the present, processing his trauma along the way. In 2019, it premiered at the Raindance Film Festival in 2017 and received a wider release throughout the United States. 

In Julia Lasker’s review of I’m Not Here, she notes that “Jill Soloway, the creator of the TV series Transparent, once gave a talk on the ‘female gaze’ that I think about often. In the talk, she discusses a directing style in which the camera represents the female gaze, rather than the male gaze that is typical of mainstream films. To do this, she attempts to create a feeling with her shots, rather than an image, to emulate the female experience. I’m Not Here’s director Michelle Schumacher demonstrates this concept wonderfully. Especially in the scenes with present-day Steve who is grief-stricken, ill, and progressively more and more drunk, I could feel him unraveling as if I was experiencing it myself. Schumacher’s direction, in a truly masterful way, uses the camera to show the audience what Steve feels, rather than just what he sees.”

Julia continues by asserting that, “despite some issues with the narrative, there is real skill at work in this film. The directing, cinematography, lighting and — and I cannot emphasize this enough — J.K. Simmons are all excellent and, in my opinion, definitely worth watching.” Check out the rest of her article here.

Upon the release of I’m Not Here, Lesley Coffin was able to interview Michelle Schumacher for FF2 Media. They discussed how Schumacher and co-writer Tony Cummings created a “haunting story of generational addictions, past mistakes and forgiveness.” Schumacher revealed that her concept for the film “started out with a couple of goals in mind. We wanted to tell a story of a man reflecting on his life and figure out how he got where he is. We all have times in our life when we think ‘how did I get here, what decisions did I make that got me to this point.’ And over time you start seeing patterns. But we also wanted to layer in this concept of quantum time and infinite possibilities. If every choice that can be made has been made, does that mean if you are fully present, we can change the path you’re on.” 

You can watch I’m Not Here on Amazon Prime! Happy Birthday, Michelle Schumacher!



© Anna Nappi (9/28/21) Special for FF2 Media.



Featured photo: Maika Monroe and Sebastian Stan in I’m Not Here. Gravitas Ventures. All Rights Reserved.


Tags: Anna Nappi, FF2 Media, I'm Not Here, International SWANs, iswans, Jill Soloway, Julia Lasker, Lesley Coffin, Michelle Schumacher, Support Women Artists Now, Tony Cummings

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Anna is currently a senior at Brandeis University studying Film, Journalism, and Psychology. At Brandeis, she writes for the student newspaper and is the undergraduate degree representative of the Journalism program. From theaters to museums to concert halls, she loves exploring the art world in Boston as well as in her Maine hometown. Anna is passionate about FF2’s mission and excited for the opportunity to work alongside a wonderful team dedicated to supporting women artists.
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