Wendy and Lucy (2008, directed by Kelly Reichardt, written by Kelly Reichardt and Jon Raymond)
[14 of 52 in #52FilmsByWomen]
This movie is about Wendy and her dog Lucy, who are pretty much living out of their car as they head towards Alaska to find a job. The story focuses on a particular part of their journey where their car broke down in a town in Oregon.
Running low on food and money, Wendy struggles just to get the proper supplies and make sure her dog is fed. This movie is somewhat sad and depressing as things kept going wrong for Wendy. The situations she gets into aren’t too desperate or over-dramatic, but real enough that it could probably happen to any of us, and we’d know how desperate we’d feel if we were in these situations.
We also get to see the various sides of humanity. Some people are kind and nice, while others are horrible, self-righteous, or just thinking they are doing the right thing but are actually making things harder on Wendy.
Not much is known about Wendy as a character for most of the story, except that she is homeless and is trying to head to Alaska to find a job, but her backstory indeed feels real and well-defined. We learn bits and pieces as she chats with a kindly old security guard, or when filling up forms for a city worker. Just enough information to understand her motivation and emphatise with her as things start to go wrong.
Not many people enjoy the kind of indie movies with long, silent scenes where nothing much is happening. I’m okay with these movies for the most part. In this one it really helps us get into the head-space that Wendy occupies at her point in life. And Michelle Williams’ performance just holds my attention throughout.