Film Series : Oscilloscope at Ten

Wendy and Lucy

2008, Kelly Reichardt, USA, 80 min. With Michelle Williams, Walter Dalton.

Show Times

  • Fri, Mar 2nd 2:00pm
  • Thu, Mar 8th 8:15pm

“Short, simple, perfect…a lucid and melancholy inquiry into the current state of American society.” — A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“An illustration of how absorbing a film can be when the plot doesn’t stand in the way between us and a character.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Indie giant Reichardt’s taut, bluesy third feature is perhaps the most satisfying example of her distinctive style: spare in incident, rich in nuance, with a superb sense of place and an ability to immerse the political in the personal. Wendy (Williams in a piercingly understated performance), a taciturn loner accompanied by her dog Lucy, is headed to Alaska on the trail of a vague hope (“I hear they need people”), living out of her beat-up Honda Accord, nursing a meager bankroll, and collecting tin cans to raise cash. Her modern-day frontier odyssey stalls in a small Oregon town: her car breaks down, she is arrested for shoplifting, and Lucy goes missing. While waiting for the prognosis on her car, Wendy searches for Lucy, her options running out, her fate in the hands of strangers variously kind, callous, and terrifying. Though terse and unsentimental, the film’s muted melancholy cuts deep, and its reassessment of the American Dream resonates widely, from Old West pioneers to Depression-era hobos to Bush-era economic casualties. 35mm. (MR)


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