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Wendy and Lucy

Posted by martinteller on June 18, 2011

Um… excuse me, I think there’s something in my eye.  An exceptionally understated but moving film from the “neo-neo-realist” movement by Kelly Reichardt.  Neo-neo-realism is an apt descriptor, given how much this film reminded me of Umberto D., with a bit of the Dardennes thrown in the mix.  It also supplements and contrasts nicely with the Loach I’ve been watching this weekend… a similar compassion for those on the bottom of the social ladder, but what I found more refreshing is the glimmer of hope for humanity.  It’s still a bleak film and a massive downer (especially heartbreaking for any animal lover; I’d be out of my mind if this happened to my dog) but Reichardt sees the potential for goodness in people.  Most notably in the Walter Dalton character, a security guard who offers Lucy a helping hand.  But I would be remiss to overlook Michelle Williams’ gorgeously restrained performance.  She’s had a lot of buzz in recent years, but I’ve only managed to see her in minor roles before this and she didn’t leave an impression.  She definitely left an impression this time, some masterful work.  This was my first experience with Reichardt, but I’ve been keen to see her other work, especially her latest, Meek’s Cutoff.  She allows us to see Wendy’s occasional mistakes, doesn’t romanticize her plight for a moment, refuses to either imbue her with a sorrowful backstory or a certain future.  A beautiful film, although I’m not sure my heart could stand another viewing.  Rating: 9


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