Directed by Kelly Reichardt (Night Moves, Certain Women) and originally released in 2008, Wendy and Lucy is a slow moving film which tells the tale of a woman, the choices she makes in life over one summer and her dog.
After her life hits a dead end, Wendy (Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine, Venom) decides to hit the road in her beat up car with her dog, Lucy. Money being tight she has come up with a plan to drive to Alaska, where she has been told there are plenty of well paying jobs to be had.
Though this is not a complex plan somehow, mostly due to bad luck, Wendy finds herself stuck in a small town after her car breaks down, her dog has disappeared and she has no money to solve these problems.
Wendy is desperate to get her only friend, Lucy, back, so once she finds out she has been turned in to the pound, she tries to come up with a way to get her back.
Many people throughout the world are teetering on the brink of financial collapse. Due to the precarious job situations, inflation with salaries not keeping up and the high cost of housing, loads of people are living paycheque to paycheque. This means they have no financial back up if something unexpected comes up. This is exactly what this film is about.
It is about a real person facing real situation. Instead of looking at something like the U.S. financial collapse or a stock market crash, we get a more intimate story. That makes it feel more personal or intimate. It hits closer to home. Wendy is not a “bad” person or a drug addict. She just is a victim of some bad luck. You feel sorry for this isolated person with seemingly no one in her life except for her dog. When Lucy goes missing your heart breaks for her.
It puts a human face on homelessness. You see how isolating and tough an existence it is. Even over a short period. They were people with dreams, plans and hopes. The aim of the film is to humanize them so we cannot blame or turn our backs on those living on the street.
Michelle Williams, ever since she left the teen series Dawson’s Creek, has taken on a variety of roles. Proving time and time again the width and breadth of her talent. The queen of small films, Williams seems to have no need for big budget films, instead she is interested in films propelled by character and story. No need for frills. And there certainly aren’t any on this film. Sparse and spare to say the least. Plenty of silence with a lot of her acting being done via facial expressions and body language.
The film is streaming on Filmrise.