Wendy and Lucy

Wendy and Lucy ★★★★

Kelly Reichardt is a destroyer of worlds. There's more damage implied in the cold payphone call Michelle Williams' Wendy makes to her estranged sister than is shown in, like, Winter Soldier. The intimacy of Wendy and Lucy is devastating, and the visceralness of it is bound up in its visual style. The film looks spare and surgically sharp, not quite suggesting the modesty of the budget, but rather something of the economic desperation which has motivated our protagonist to drive towards opportunities in Alaska. It's a thin line between desperate and ruined when Wendy's car breaks down and her dog Lucy gets lost. The incidents are small, but deliberately structured, and Reichardt is patient with her camera, timing blowing out the emotions of them the way a marshmallow blows up in a microwave. You see the pressure and you sense the break coming, but that doesn't prepare you for when it happens. Wendy And Lucy is a good story made great through form, which is exactly what all filmmaking, independent or otherwise, ought to do. Plus, Lucy's really cute.