Wendy & Lucy | Film Reviews | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
DONATE

Wendy & Lucy 

Dog Days: A deceptively easy, effortlessly lovely film.

Pin It
Favorite
art7553widea.jpg

Wendy Carroll (Michelle Williams) is a young woman apparently wandering through life, yet seeking direction. Lucy is her dog, a “yellowish-brown” mutt, her emotional compass and her only friend. They’re on their way to Alaska with a vague idea about getting one of those lucrative seasonal fishery jobs. It’s more a dream than a plan, really.

When an odd young drifter she meets on the road suggests she look up this one guy he used to know in Alaska, she genuinely takes this as a serious lead on work. But even Wendy’s tentative hopes start to fall apart when her beater of a car dies in a small, shriveled-up Oregon town, and the precariousness of her situation—no money, no emotional support beyond Lucy—is made plain.

The first great joy of this tart little portrait is Williams’ achingly contradictory performance as Wendy, who is at once a basket case of wistful loneliness and a model of determination, even as it sometimes leads her astray. But it’s difficult to condemn even the one less-than-wise choice she makes, borne as it is out of desperation and hopelessness. She’s doing the best she can with the very slim hand she was dealt, and the Wendy hardness behind Williams’ pixie face is deeply affecting.

The second great joy is director Kelly Reichardt’s (Old Joy) talent for bringing something profound to the smallest acts and the fewest words of her naturalistic cast; character actor Will Patton is the only familiar face among the small roster of unknowns. Reichardt, who wrote the script with Jonathan Raymond, has a pensive eye that can turn something so simple as the offer of a handful of cash or the stubbornness of righteous youth into quietly striking moments that whisper volumes about social connection (or lack thereof), compassion (or lack thereof) and generosity (or lack thereof).

Wendy and Lucy lacks nothing, though. It’s a deceptively easy, effortlessly lovely film.

WENDY AND LUCY

3_5_stars.gif

Michelle Williams, Will Patton
Rated R

Pin It
Favorite

Speaking of...

More by MaryAnn Johanson

  • Chillin' Like a Villain

    The Bad Guys mixes snappy, snarky animated fun with a few important lessons.
    • Apr 20, 2022
  • No Love Lost

    The classic romantic story of Cyrano is buried in poor choices.
    • Feb 23, 2022
  • Drawn from History

    Flee uses animation to tell a harrowing refugee story that continues to feel all-too-familiar
    • Feb 2, 2022
  • More »

Latest in Film Reviews

  • Take Our Breath Away

    Top Gun: Maverick flashes back to the days of movie stars and physical action.
    • May 25, 2022
  • Not All ...

    Men gets a bit too smug about its metaphorical gender politics.
    • May 18, 2022
  • More Than a Feeling

    Memoria offers the kind of cinematic experience you have to decide to feel, rather than "solve."
    • May 11, 2022
  • More »

© 2022 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation