Show Synopsis

Old Joy director Kelly Reichardt crafts this intimate tale of Wendy, an alienated Indiana woman who packs up her car and sets her sights on Alaska, but finds herself stranded in a small Oregon town with no money and only her faithful dog, Lucy, to keep her company. When Wendy realizes that there's nothing keeping her in her home state of Indiana, she makes the decision to relocate to Alaska and seek out work at the local fish cannery. With her four-legged friend Lucy in the passenger seat next to her, Wendy stops off to get ...

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riverrun

Jul 30, 2009

A Small Slice

It's heartening that Independent films like "Wendy and Lucy" and "Man Push Cart" are being made at all.

I cannot say whether the former is a great film, but its very smallness and quiet serves as a rebuke to the obscenely expensive Hollywood blockbusters.

These films tell the stories of the Other America, of those who've fallen through the cracks.

They're the narratives an Edward Hopper painting would tell if they could: an essential American loneliness. Any American who has had even a taste of the economic edge should be able to be empathetic.

Robert Bresson's "Mouchette," Roberto Rossellini's "Germany Year Zero" and Luis Bunuel's "Los Olvidados" are more severe and heartbreaking, true, but I'm encouraged by "Wendy and Lucy's" Ozu-like stillness, which is a visual balm after Hollywood hyperkineticism.

It isn't Works Progress Administration (WPA) art in which the worker is invariably ennobled--Wendy is far from perfect and makes bad choices--perhaps more like a minimalist story by Raymond Carver, a small slice, shedding light on the margins.

Each morning I drive past the corner where Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless is located, seeing the scraggly troops queue up outside the door. Compared to them, Wendy has it good.

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