Wendy and Lucy Film Review by Sara S.
“Wendy and Lucy” is a film about Wendy, a young woman traveling from Indiana to Alaska in hopes of finding a job. The film is a successful portrayal of a middle-lower class woman in today’s poor economy. “Wendy and Lucy” was directed by Kelly Reichdart and written by Jonathan Raymond (the film was based on his short story “Night Choir.”) The film stars the devoted Michelle Williams, who went weeks without shaving or bathing in order to obtain the role. “Wendy and Lucy” was released in 2008 to wide critical acclaim. Film reviewer Mick LaSelle of “The San Fransisco Chronicle” said, “Wendy and Lucy—a film that may have seemed faintly academic six months ago—becomes an anxious expression of its historical moment.”
“Wendy and Lucy” is a film with a simple plot and minimal characters. After her car breaks down, Wendy’s dog Lucy, and only confidante, goes missing. With her money rapidly disappearing, Lucy is forced to come to terms with the seriousness of her predicament. “Wendy and Lucy” depicts a dire economic state that millions of Americans are in right now. Lucy is lonely, poor, homeless, and searching for a way out. This film depicts the poor economic state our nation is in and how it’s affecting the most unassuming people. One of Wendy’s acquaintances in the film wisely states, “You can’t get an address without an address. You can’t get a job without a job.”
This film’s success definitely depends on Michelle William’s performance. If played wrong, Wendy could come off as contemptible or self-pitying. However, Williams gives a moving performance that makes Wendy a relatable character that is prevalent in today’s society. In one noteworthy scene, Wendy lays frozen in her makeshift bed as an unidentifiable man searches through her things in the middle of the night. Upon noticing she’s awake he commands her to look away and rambles about how he has “killed 700 people with his bare hands.” You can feel the tension emanating from the scene as it leaves you frozen in shock. Wendy’s eyes are screaming for help, and you want more than anything to do just that. It’s definitely up there with the eye-hand creature scene in “Pan’s Labyrinth” as one of the most terrifying scenes I’ve ever seen. I definitely attribute the immense tension and horror in this scene to William’s brave and honest performance.
Despite its appearances, “Wendy and Lucy” is a very ambitious film. The film is seemingly modest with its low budget, simple story, and lack of grandiose action. However, the power of the film’s theme prevails and manages to stun the viewer. While many filmmakers turn out redundant propaganda, Reichdart is able to capture the turmoil our nation is in perfectly. Reichdart makes “Wendy and Lucy” a personal experience, rather than a pretentious and detached one. For example, in the beginning of the film, Wendy has roughly around 500 dollars. As the film progresses, Wendy has to pay for countless fees. To fix her car, to use the bus, to use the payphone, etc. I won’t give it away, but as the end nears Wendy can barely subsist on her low amount of resources. Wendy is emblematic of a lower class woman in today’s downtrodden society. Wendy has to make serious moral decisions that reflect our society.
I recommend “Wendy and Lucy” to everyone. While the film is rated R, there is nothing bad in it. There are a few curse words, nothing you haven’t heard before. “Wendy and Lucy” is a very important film that I feel everyone needs to see. Whether you’re interested in the economy or not, “Wendy and Lucy” will leave you enthralled with its bold message. While seemingly modest, “Wendy and Lucy” is a film that demands your attention.