Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Wendy and Lucy 

Wednesday, Jan 21 2009
Modest but cosmic, Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy is a movie whose sad pixie heroine, Wendy (Michelle Williams), already skating on thin ice, stumbles and, without a single support to brace herself, slides into America’s lower depths. Introduced calling for her dog, Lucy, Wendy loses first her liberty (briefly), then Lucy (again), and finally, her car in the course of a dead-end road trip from deepest Indiana to the Alaskan frontier. Wendy does encounter a few locals, notably a pitiless garage mechanic (Will Patton) and a sympathetic security guard (Walter Dalton), who charitably allows her to use his cell phone as her contact with the dog pound. But, save for Lucy, Wendy is alone; the movie is essentially a solo turn. Trembling throughout on the verge of a tearful breakdown, but far too dignified to allow her character to choke up, Williams delivers a sensationally nuanced performance that, were it not so resolutely undramatic, would constitute an aria of stoical misery. Spare, actor-driven, socially aware, and open-ended, Wendy and Lucy has obvious affinities to Italian neorealism. Reichardt has choreographed one of the most stripped-down existential quests since Vittorio De Sica sent his unemployed worker wandering through the streets of Rome searching for his purloined bicycle, and as heartbreaking a dog story as De Sica’s Umberto D. But Wendy and Lucy is also the most melancholy of American sagas.
Jan. 30-Feb. 26, 2009

About The Author

J. Hoberman


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"