Wendy and Lucy

Wendy and Lucy ★★★★½

"You can't get a address without an address, you can't get a job without a job...."

This film was made over a decade ago, and yet it somehow feels more prescient than ever in its portrayals of the many ways poverty puts people in desperate situations where every attempt to avoid financial ruin only leads to another perilous situation that might make things worse. The fact that so many sequences of Wendy just trying to go about her day carry so much suspense is a testament to how quietly effective Reichardt is at setting the stakes for her.

Williams is maybe at the best I've ever seen her, using her usual steeliness as a necessary shield for the character, hiding a quiet desperation that only rarely breaks (her shouting at the parent of that little shit narc from the grocery store is maybe the most accurate portrayal of a genuine-yet-useless outburst of anger I've ever seen in a movie). And every side character actually feels like a real person (I'm honestly surprised that the auto mechanic was a character actor and not a real mechanic they found while filming), which makes the way they often become obstacles to Wendy all the more effective. The kindest gestures she receives amount to not much more than a few dollars saved and received, because everyone is trying to get by just as much as she is.

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