Wendy and Lucy

Wendy and Lucy ★★★★½

Roger Ebert referred to movies as "machines that generate empathy". I have never been homeless, but watching this movie I was able to follow around Wendy and share her experiences. It opened my heart. Watching this movie was an exercise in compassion on my part. Every emotion that Wendy felt, I felt right along. That's a testament to the skill in Kelly Reichardt's direction and Michelle William's performance.
It's a humanistic movie in a way that reminded in a certain way of Italian neorealist films such as "Bicycle Thieves". Reichardt is a gentle and poetic director with overflowing love for Wendy. Michelle Williams is one of the greatest actresses working today. There was nothing actorly about her performance, no ticks or quirks. It's small and still.
The key to the movie is the asshole shop clerk's line after catching Wendy shoplifting. "If a person can't afford dog food, they shouldn't have a dog." The movie is then proving time after time how much Wendy loves Lucy. She demonstrates her ability to care for her dog. Everyone is deserving of love and companionship. The ending is her ultimate act of love.

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