"Wendy and Lucy"
Michelle Williams is an extremely talented actress who flies under the radar of most movie goers. While keeping a quiet public profile she does all of her talking on the big screen. Although she was nominated this year for Best Actress in her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe, Williams gravitates towards small independent films rather than
blockbusters. My next three reviews will
feature Ms. Williams in a few of her best roles. First up is the 2008 film "Wendy and
Lucy" directed by Kelly Reichardt.
Made on shoestring budget in
this film is an understated character
study of a young woman and her dog as they head for better life. Their goal is Oregon and a lucrative job at a fish
cannery. The film is minimalist, but
high on emotional impact and feeling.
Wendy and her companion, a yellow lab mix named Lucy, currently live in their
old Honda Accord. After sleeping the
night in a Walgreen's parking lot, a kind old security guard must have her
move. The car doesn't start and so
begins a turning point not only in her trip but her life. She tracks every cent she has in a journal
and its getting pretty low. A bad
decision at a supermarket and a heartless ass kissing stock boy gets Wendy in
trouble with the law. Lucy is left tied
to a bike rack outside the market while Wendy is booked for petty theft. A number of hours pass until Wendy is freed
and fined $50. She races back to Lucy
but she is gone. She finds little help
with the indifferent locals and her dilemma only intensified. The one bright spot is the security guard
played by Wally Dalton, offering his cell phone and a kind ear. Alaska
She makes her way to the pound but Lucy isn't there, just a bunch of other lost or abandoned dogs. She has to pay to have her car towed to the repair shop which is only a block away. The mechanic delivers some bad news, the car is dead. Without her car, her sanctuary, she tries spending the night in the woods. It's not long until she is freaked out and nearly attacked by another vagrant. At the end of her rope she calls her estranged sister and gets a big load of nothing. I don't want to throw too many spoilers out there but after some painful choices life must move on.
Wendy's struggle unfold like a sort of documentary rather than a film. There is no musical score and the filmmakers are committed to realism. Michelle Williams IS Wendy as she completely commits to this role. Many people agreed as she was nominated for a handful of awards. The movie itself won the AFI Film of the Year Award. "Wendy and Lucy" is available on Netflix watch instantly.
Up next: Meek's Cutoff.