Rated R for language, 80 minutes
Low-key, downbeat but well-acted "Wendy and Lucy"
"Wendy and Lucy" is a small, ultra low-budget independent film about a homeless woman and her dog. It comes at a time when big special effects, big movie starts and big budgets tend to dominate the multiplexes. "Wendy and Lucy" is simple, low-key and is often meandering and downbeat yet makes a few powerful, subtle statements about friendship, loneliness and direction in life.
Wendy Carol (Michelle Williams) is driving to Ketchikan, Alaska in the hopes of a summer of lucrative work at the Northwestern Fish cannery, and the start of a new life with her dog, Lucy (whose real name is Lucy). But when she has car problems in Oregon the thinness of her bleak financial situation is ripped apart, and she confronts a series of increasingly dire economic decisions, with far ranging repercussions for herself and Lucy.
"Wendy and Lucy" is a low-key but well-acted drama about friendship and making the right decisions in life. Williams ("Brokeback Mountain" and Heath Ledger's ex) plays Wendy with a likable, quiet desperation of someone whose only real friend is her dog Lucy. The story and direction from Kelly Reichardt ("Old Joy") often meanders and is too slow in places, but Williams sturdy performance (in a drab role-short haircut, natty clothes) is the centerpiece of the short (only 80 minutes), downbeat film.
In these bleak economic times, many could probably relate to Wendy's plight, especially when she briefly loses Lucy and must get her back, or when she must sleep in her car or her bleak financial situation. With that in mind, "Wendy and Lucy" doesn't offer much, going from one short depressing situation to the next, and many won't be drawn to this downbeat story, but if simplicity and a low-key feel is what you're looking for, then "Wendy and Lucy" is for you.