Wendy and Lucy

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                                                             Lost-dog day afternoon:
                                                             Michelle Williams stars in
                                                                  Wendy and Lucy
                                                                                                                                                                                Selected ShortS
    Wendy and Lucy. (Oscilloscope; 81 min-                                                            this is working very well for them.”) Wendy      checks in with her uncaring sister, in a scene
utes; R; 2008). Director Kelly Reichardt’s                                                            and Lucy isn’t a finger-wagging anti-Bush        that somehow reveals plenty of backstory
minimalist movie doesn’t have much of a                                                               administration screed, but its roiling sense     about her family relationships. It’s a spare per-
story, and that’s perfectly OK. It’s a selection                                                      of anger is acutely understood, perhaps even     formance flaked with teensy details, like the
of heightened moments in the seeming every-                                                           more now that the Dow is closing in on the       manner in which Wendy rubs her clothes on
day existence of a strapped-for-cash loner and                                                        6000 mark. Reichardt’s quiet movie has the       street signs, in the dim hope that maybe Lucy
her dog while en route to a hopeful financial                                                         primal heft of a Depression-era Warner Broth-    will notice her owner’s scent and can find
makeover at an Alaskan fish cannery. In the                                                           ers social drama, albeit relocated to the 21st   her way back. Williams’ existential dilemma
meantime, however, Wendy Carroll (a mop-                                                              century; one scene of a nocturnal Hooverville    neatly holds together Wendy and Lucy, an
topped Michelle Williams) and her loyal mutt                                                          has today’s pierced punk generation huddling     effective character study that accords a mea-
Lucy are stuck in an Oregon town when their                                                           around a campfire.                               sure of dignity for those who live on life’s
car finally drops dead. After tying up Lucy to a                                                         Williams is sufficiently deglamorized to      margins. You’ll never look at the unfortunates
bike rack in front of a grocery store and, alas,                                                      portray her fragile waif, and she makes every    who must still sleep under, as an example, the
getting nabbed for shoplifting some cans of dog                                                       screen moment count for something, from          I-690 underpass on Hiawatha Boulevard, in
food, Wendy returns to the scene of the crime                                                         Wendy washing up in a grungy gas-station         quite the same way again.
and is unable to locate Lucy. The balance of                                                          restroom to a brief phone call in which she                                        —Bill Delapp
the drama concerns Wendy’s cathartic search
for the pooch, with the kindnesses of some
strangers—like a compassionate security 
Description: Again, there's not much going on as the film moves from one plot point to the next: [Wendy Carroll] getting booked and fingerprinted, Wendy frequently calling the dog pound (although she has to scrounge for loose change in her Honda to use a pay phone), Wendy jotting down her fleeting expenses in a journal decorated on the fringes with doodles. Yet somehow [Kelly Reichardt] does a lot with very little. When Wendy gets busted at the store, the overzealous kid (John Robinson) who catches her in the act says, "If a person can't afford dog food, she shouldn't have a dog." A homeless guy interrupts Wendy's snooze on a cardboard bed in the woods to rant about the world: "They can smell the weakness on you," he says as he recites the societal bum's rush to "move along." And the security guard commiserates with Wendy's various catch-22s: "You can't get an address without an address. You can't get a job without a job. It's all fixed."
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