Wendy and Lucy is Kelly Reichardt’s third feature length film and one of the most subtly sad stories I’ve seen unfold recently. Reichardt is known for having a very minimalistic style and using characters in small communities. Wendy and Lucy is about as raw as it gets for a story but it has stuck with me because I feel like I recognize the small town features that Reichardt is so good at highlighting. She’s able to shoot a Walgreen's store in a way that reminds me of waiting in the parking lot for my mom when I was a kid. It’s beautiful and I’m excited to see more of Reichardt’s work.
Wendy is a young girl living in her car with her dog, Lucy. She’s homeless, but she has a plan to travel to Alaska in hopes of getting a job at a cannery. Early on in the film, Wendy’s car breaks down in the middle of Oregon. She’s at a loss because she’s on a tight budget and has her dog to look after. She decides to hit up a supermarket for some dog food but she doesn’t pay for it and this goody goody grocery store clerk catches her and reports her. Wendy is set back exponentially, but she’s determined to retrieve Lucy and get back on track.
Michelle Williams is one of the better actors working right now and this is one of her greatest performances. Wendy is so relatable through quick interactions and observations. She is almost unhealthily skinny and cares more about Lucy’s well being than anything. I don’t have a connection to dogs like most people, but I could feel every bit of the connection between our two main characters. Kelly Reichardt is so patient with her filmmaking and she has a really cool way of showing a woman go about her day in a world that just isn’t kind to small people like her.