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Past Films

The Essentials: Wendy and Lucy (2008)

  • Starring: Michelle Williams, Lucy, David Koppell
  • Director: Kelly Reichardt
  • Genre(s): Drama
  • Rating: R
  • Running Time: 80 min.

The Essentials: Auteur
This quarterly series showcases the “essential” films everyone should see on the big screen. For each month-long program, we’ll screen five films organized by one of the following themes: directors, actors, genres, and eras/movements.

Essential tickets are $9 for Adults, $8 for Students/Seniors and Members get in Free!

Summary: Wendy Carroll is driving to Ketchikan, Alaska, in hopes of a summer of lucrative work at the Northwestern Fish cannery, and the start of a new life with her dog, Lucy. When her car breaks down in Oregon, however, the thin fabric of her financial situation comes apart, and she confronts a series of increasingly dire economic decisions, with far-ranging repercussions for herself and Lucy. Wendy and Lucy addresses issues of sympathy and generosity at the edges of American life, revealing the limits and depths of people’s duty to each other in tough times. (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

"Within the confines of this minimalist (with a microscopic m) picture, there are sequences so vital, timely and of-the-moment, so powerful and well-observed and precise, the effect can be emotionally overwhelming."
- Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
"This brilliant, desperately sad Steinbeckian fable from American director Kelly Reichardt. It's Reichardt's third full-length feature ('Old Joy' was in cinemas last year), but only her first masterpiece."
- David Jenkins, Time Out
"The very definition of a small film, Wendy and Lucy nonetheless packs some serious wallop thanks to a quietly extraordinary performance by Michelle Williams."
- Tom Long, Detroit News
"Such is the resonant magic of Kelly Reichardt's remarkable little film, one of those exercises in minimalism where every word matters, every shot counts, until the kernel expands and a whole world emerges in 80 brief minutes."
- Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
"The victories and insights gained in Wendy and Lucy are hard-won and small in stature, but they linger on the mind."
- Peter Howell, Toronto Star
"Whether she's warily cleaning up in a service-station restroom, or staring at the trains that offer a different travel option, or establishing her rapport with Lucy, Williams bravely explores the soul of a creature who's both gentle and determined."
- John Hartl, Seattle Times
"Thanks to an extraordinary performance from Michelle Williams and an exceptionally deft hand from her director, this low-budget and loping little film is a genuine heartbreaker."
- Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Wendy and Lucy takes place mainly outdoors and registers the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest with unostentatious affection."
- A.O. Scott, New York Times