The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Wendy and Lucy offers more than meets the eye

By Tatiana Craine

According to everyone’s eighth grade English class, a good story has a central conflict. This conflict usually breaks down into one three simple categories: person versus person, person versus society and person versus self. Independent films are no stranger to the concept of these struggles. Indie plots focus on said struggle and analyze it to the very core-often at the expense of the audience’s patience and attention span. And really, all films and stories do that. They take the conflict and reduce it to a bare bones quality that everyone can understand-even an eighth grader.However, some films (and stories for that matter) do it better than others.

“Wendy and Lucy” is a prime example of independent filmmaking and storytelling prowess. Without preaching, it shows (rather than tells) the state of America today: a bureaucratic, economic, selfish nightmare.

The plot is straightforward. Wendy is a young, pixie-haired vagabond on her way to Alaska with her dog, Lucy. Wendy has no real familial, platonic or romantic connections save for a strained relationship with her sister from Muncie, Indiana. She makes a stop in small-town Oregon where she experiences car troubles. While making a stop at a local grocery store to pick up some food for Lucy, Wendy gets caught shoplifting by a young worker all too happy to make an example out of the out-of-towner. She spends a few hours locked up in the local jail, agonizing over Lucy who she left tied up just outside the grocery store. Upon her return, Lucy is no longer there, the grocery clerks are no help, and she finds she won’t be able to get her car fixed for some time. Things only look up when a geriatric Walgreen’s security guard lends Wendy a helping hand-the local pound’s address, a few phone calls on a cell phone, a little bit of money, some peace of mind. The rest of the film is spent following Wendy on her relentless and emotionally toiling search for Lucy.

I won’t reveal whether or not they reunite. In a way it doesn’t really matter. Wendy struggles not only with her own loneliness, but unhelpful and disobliging service workers, as well as the small-town society into which she has stumbled. “Wendy and Lucy” offers a look at how the days of packing up and hitting the road with only a few dollars in pocket are over. People no longer lend a helping hand to a drifter in need. Instead, Wendy runs into people who seem almost willing to let her heart break over the loss of her only companion. The film serves as a commentary about the United States as a selfish place in which the status quo rules over all and those off the beaten path become beaten down.

Michelle Williams (Wendy) carries the film with a poise and urgency. Her performance is subtle, but feels closely realistic. There isn’t a scene that Williams handles without a sense of authenticity and independence. She masters the paradox of a character like Wendy; her head is filled with dreams of Alaska, but her immediate reality entails a beat-up American Apparel hoodie and constant, desolate penny-pinching.

“Wendy and Lucy” clocks in at a meager 80-something minutes, but feels longer. Sometimes the pacing is good, sometimes it feels a little drawn out; however, the film never feels rushed with typical Hollywood cinematic speed. Events happen as they were meant to with just enough focus and attention put upon them. “Wendy and Lucy” is sometimes heart-warming, and sometimes heart-wrenching about a girl and her only friend trying to thrive in modern America-definitely worth taking a look.

View Comments (7)
More to Discover

Comments (7)

All The Mac Weekly Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • W

    Wendy KingSep 6, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    One more thing that I would like to share at this place is that, whatsoever you are using free blogging service but if you donít update your web site on daily basis then itís no more importance.