Wendy and Lucy (2008)
Wendy and Lucy is billed as a drama, which is what happens to lots of films where genre and type defy easy classification. There are no bold, riveting performances, no strong story arc, no clashing character conflicts, it’s a bare-bones story told in a simple style and that’s what makes it work so well.
Wendy (Michelle Williams) is traveling across the country with her dog Lucy (Lucy the Dog) to find work but a stop in one town becomes more than a one-night affair when things begin to spiral out of control for Wendy and Lucy.
From there, the film unfolds bit by bit, scene by scene as Wendy faces the simple problems of being without a home, without a working car and without much cash. It’s a frightening prospect and there are moments of dread that are all too familiar for someone who’s had to repair a car or face a fine they financially weren’t prepared for.
It’s the tiny moments like that which make Wendy and Lucy so effective, the fact that the conflict exists not in a traditionally dramatic faction, in bold gestures, but in these small, solemn moments of being out of grasp of basic needs and desires.
It’s about the feeling of not having a home and what life becomes like when you no longer have anyone to turn to. There are genuinely horrifying moment in this film that capture not only the physical hardships but the psychological ones as well, the sense of truly being alone.
And in that regard, the film captures the social anxiety of a class of people often overlooked and underseen, the people that drift along the edges, invisible people that you see every day on the street but think nothing about. Who they are, what their day looks like and where they are going is a complete mystery for most, but for a while Wendy and Lucy pulls back the veil and observes the unseen.