Wendy and Lucy (15)

Directed by Kelly Reichardt
Written by Kelly Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond
Screening at FACT from 27th March 2009

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

The loneliness of the main character in this keenly observed film is heartrending at times.

Wendy (Michelle Williams) seems a nice person, pretty, articulate, etc but there is a dark side to her. What is the twenty-something escaping from as she tries - with her only companion Lucy the dog - to reach Alaska in search of a job? The film does not present an answer.

Her only contact from her past just enhances her isolation. Left stranded in Hicksville, Oregon after her car breaks down, she phones her sister in an attempt to get some comforting words from her, but it proves futile - the sister seems more intent on getting back to watching braindead television than engaging in a conversation with her.

Then you may ask, where are Lucy's parents and friends? Why can't she seek their support in her time of trouble?

To compound matters, she even loses the companionship of her dog. Nabbed by the police for shoplifting, she is kept in a cell for several hours, but when she is released and goes back to where Lucy was tied up, she discovers she has disappeared.

As she tries to track down the dog, Lucy gains the sympathetic support of an elderly security guard, engagingly played by Walter Dalton. He is the only one who cares for her, even though he barely knows her.

I had my doubts about this film after I left the cinema, but on reflection it asks a lot of questions about modern day society - failing economies, an increasing break-up of families, mass unemployment and especially acute loneliness.

Even if those weighty matters were not at the forefront of your mind when watching this it is still a charming and beautifully photographed way to spend eighty minutes of your life.

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