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Wendy and Lucy

USA 2008. Dir: Kelly Reichardt. 80 min. 35mm

Kelly Reichardt’s humble, heartrending third feature, the talk of Cannes when it debuted in Un Certain Regard, was the writer-director-editor’s breakthrough film, an unassuming tour de force that New York Times critic A. O. Scott placed at the epicentre of a burgeoning (albeit short-lived) “Neo-Neo Realist” movement in American independent cinema. Michelle Williams, in what remains her finest performance to date, is Wendy, a young, broke vagabond stranded in a small Oregon town after her battered car breaks down and her beloved dog Lucy goes missing. The plot of this unadorned, unsentimental, unhurried drama — adapted from co-writer Jon Raymond’s short story “Train Choir” — is deceptively slight; in its understated way, it speaks volumes about loneliness, economic hardship, and compassion in a culture of individualism and inopportunity, the modern American zeitgeist. “Breathtaking ... It should be required viewing” (Michael Atkinson, Sight & Sound).

Print courtesy of TIFF's Film Reference Library.

 

 

REVIEWS

“A pitch-perfect triumph.”

New York Times | full review

“Superb ... Suffused equally with possibility and melancholy.”

Variety | full review

"Evanescent and intangible, it dissolves into the air, leaving something tragic and mysterious behind."

LA Times | full review