Wendy and Lucy

Wendy and Lucy ★★★★★

In our podcast, I point out that Lucy is not simply a "pet the dog" dog. Lucy doesn't serve as a gateway for our affection for Wendy (Michelle Williams). We also talk about how important Lucy is to Wendy, that she's the driving force behind essentially the entire film. But I still feel like I failed to convey how different Lucy is from your typical animal character on film.

How many times have you seen a film where a character exists only for the plot or for another character? How many break ups have you seen where its inclusion is just about us becoming sympathetic for the dumped? How many characters exist only to provide some sage advice or an important smack upside the head and then move on with no hint of an inner life of their own?

I think we all recognize this type of character in films, and I think we all recognize them for what they are, poor and lazy writing. And while we hold those films accountable for that sloppy plotting or character when it comes to humans, I don't think we do when it comes to animals. I understand why the presentation of animals doesn't have as high expectations as for humans, but I don't think it should be this way. Animals have emotions. They have personalities. They have an inner life and are an important part of ours.

Lucy is the first animal that I felt like I knew, in the same way one might know a human character. I couldn't tell you exactly why that is or what Kelly Reichardt has done to make Lucy so painfully real to me. I can simply say that Lucy is an incredible character. And considering how delicate and precise Reichardt is with all of her characters, I shouldn't be so surprised.

I love Lucy. And not just the intrinsic way I love animals. I'm so excited that I've found a film that filled a need I didn't even realize I had, and I hope I get to see more and more films that make me feel similarly about other animals.

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