Wendy and Lucy

Posted December 31, 2008 in Film

It must be a generational thing. Older audiences are hailing this slim story of a hand-to-mouth transient limping her way to Alaska as an insight into Gen X’s unmoored ennui. It’s like they’ve watched The Kite Runner and now think they understand Afghanistan. Wendy (Michelle Williams), they cry, is a victim—adrift from her family and clinging to her small stack of tens and twenties as though they hold the key to her future, which they do. Maybe I’ve just met too many Wendys in my day, those who romanticize freedom and moment-to-moment living. Kids like the train track gutterpunks Wendy tentatively approaches who tattooed things like “Taco Bell” on their knuckles and “Suck My Ass It Stinks” on their keister because they figured they won’t live long enough to regret them. (True stories, I know both people). The central moment in the film is when Wendy calls her sister to ask for help after she’s been arrested for shoplifting, lost her dog Lucy, and blew her cash on her broken car. The sister is exasperated. Writer-director Kelly Reichardt and co-writer Jonathan Raymond’s script doesn’t spell out why, but softies assume that Wendy must be escaping a Brothers Grimm family life while cynics find it easy to believe that this isn’t the first, second, or even third time Wendy’s called home for a hand out. Williams plays Wendy as a woman-child who buries her emotions; it’s a reasonable move—and she does it well—but it did nothing to endear me to this featherweight film. (Amy Nicholson)



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