Wendy and Lucy

"Excellent"

Wendy and Lucy Review


A prime specimen of American independent cinema unencumbered by overbearing social commentary, Kelly Reichardt's serene Wendy and Lucy finds more startling emotional honesty in the relationship between a young woman, her lost dog, and a small cast of day-job regulars than most films dare ask of two humans. Securing Michelle Williams' place as one of the great young actresses currently working in the American cinema, Reichardt has miraculously cut down the lean metaphysics of her last work, 2006's majestic Old Joy, into something far more enrapturing, a sort of seasonal constellation.

Williams plays the distraught Wendy, who finds herself desperately searching for her dog Lucy in a small town in suburban Portland, Oregon. Her shabby clothing, ramshackle hygiene procedures and ruffled bob of emo-black hair designate her as part of a burgeoning class of nomadic neo-hippies and wanderers, but she has ambition, yearning for a job and a warm place to come home to. Early on, Wendy -- on the run from something, we never know exactly what -- encounters a pack of fellow drifters -- Joy's Will Oldham naturally plays the alpha named Icky -- who point her towards fishery jobs in Alaska. She begins to count her money and things look OK, but then she is busted for stealing dog food from a local supermarket, an act that sets off a set of relatively minor but nevertheless tragic happenings that keep Wendy from leaving Portland and drain her wallet.

While the plot preoccupies itself with Lucy's disappearance while Wendy is detained for the shoplifting, the movie is primarily interested in movement. Without home or support (a phone call home provides knowledge of a family of strapped suburbanites), Wendy is constantly being displaced from her makeshift abodes, whether from her busted car or from a cardboard bed in a local park where she is deeply frightened by a local lunatic (Larry Fessenden). And yet she can't seem to actually get anywhere.

Though it carries a certain feel for the cinema of the 1960s, Wendy and Lucy is intrinsically tied to more modern tent poles, primarily the current economy. We are left to wonder whether Wendy finds less tragic ends than that other Alaska-bound gadabout in Into the Wild, but she actually shares more with the down-and-out prospectors of John Ford's immortal The Grapes of Wrath. Alone with only a Walgreens security guard's (Walter Dalton) cell phone for communication, Wendy is a symbol of youth that no longer travels the country in search of spirituality and introspection but rather has to scour the national landscape for a decent wage.

Reichardt's film demands that Wendy be a subtle but piercing presence, reticent yet commanding. In the past few years, Williams has buried her Dawson's Creek days and rebuilt herself as a staple of more adventurous fare, appearing both in last year's wildly brilliant I'm Not There and this year's stampeding phantasmagoria Synecdoche, New York. More endemic to her work in Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain, Williams underplays and internalizes much of the action in Lucy, making a terrified tantrum in a gas station bathroom all the more bewildering and bracing. Williams is as graceful as she is elemental and gives, by a large margin, the best American female performance I've seen this year.

Lil' bow wow.



Wendy and Lucy

Facts and Figures

Run time: 80 mins

In Theaters: Friday 6th March 2009

Box Office USA: $0.7M

Budget: $200 thousand

Distributed by: Oscilloscope Pictures

Production compaines: Washington Square Films, Field Guide Films, Film Science, Glass Eye Pix

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Fresh: 128 Rotten: 22

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Neil Kopp, Anish Savjani,

Starring: as Wendy, as Mechanic, Will Oldham as Icky, as Andy

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.