Monday 28 Jul

TJ Mayes - "When Love Comes Down"

’50s era rock ’n’ roll had been long overdue for a rebirth. Thankfully, the stockpile of capable luminaries has not been in short supply over the past few years. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Boare - "playdatshit"

The world is in the midst of an electronic music renaissance, and you find most of this boon of producers laying claim to the club-friendly, bass-dropping variety, holing up in the the free-flowing world of hip-hop beatmaking or pitching their tent on the out-there, boundary-pushing EDM camp.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broncho - "Class Historian"

Broncho has never been hurting in the hook department. The success of the trio’s 2011 debut, Can’t Get Past the Lips, was predicated mostly on its ability to marry melodies with kinetic guitar riffs and anarchic energy. Yet we’ve heard nothing to the degree of pure pop catchiness on display in “Class Historian,” the new single from Broncho’s upcoming sophomore album, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Michelle Williams turns in...

Michelle Williams turns in remarkable performance in 'Wendy and Lucy'

Phil Bacharach March 26th, 2009

Woman loses dog. If you're a bottom-line kind of person, the aforementioned sentence is essentially the bare-bones plot of "Wendy and Lucy." That slender narrative, however, offers more than...


Woman loses dog.

If you're a bottom-line kind of person, the aforementioned sentence is essentially the bare-bones plot of "Wendy and Lucy." That slender narrative, however, offers more than enough space on which to build a singularly haunting tale of desperation, resilience and sacrifice. In short, this low-budget indie says more about the human condition than do most self-professed "big message" pictures.

The film screens 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday through April 5 at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Moviegoers would do well to catch this gem while they have the chance.

Michelle Williams ("Synecdoche, New York") is Wendy Carroll, a 20-something woman driving from Indiana to Ketchikan, Ala., in search of work. She is jobless, destitute and, with the notable exception of a beloved Labrador named Lucy, alone. No backstory on Wendy is offered; we don't know why she is in dire financial straits, or why she has settled on Alaska. But Williams' subtle, intelligent performance conveys everything we need to know about the woman's quiet strength and capacity for endurance.

That capacity is tested when her car breaks down in a Portland, Ore., suburb. Hoping to save what little cash she has but needing to feed Lucy, she shoplifts a can of Iams from a supermarket and an annoyingly self-righteous clerk catches her. "The rules apply to everyone equally," he proclaims. "Food is not the issue; it's about setting an example." And so Wendy is briefly jailed. When she gets out, Lucy, who had been leashed outside the store, is nowhere to be found.

One of the most rewarding aspects of indie films in general is their ability to maneuver into the orbits of people whose lives don't typically get big-screen treatment. "Wendy and Lucy" probes the outer margins of society, where people sleep in cars and are one circumstance away from financial disaster " a world that feels all too close at hand given the current recession. "You can't get an address without an address, you can't get a job without a job," a security guard tells Wendy. "It's all fixed."

Calamity follows calamity, and yet "Wendy and Lucy," miraculously, is not entirely bleak. Director Kelly Reichardt, who co-wrote the script with Jonathan Raymond, depicts a universe that isn't cruel so much as it is indifferent. Wendy benefits from small kindnesses, but they cannot quite compensate for the hard facts of poverty.

Shot in 18 days for a meager $300,000, "Wendy and Lucy" is a triumph of no-frills filmmaking. Reichardt keeps things spare and succinct, eschewing even a musical score. She adheres to the edict that cinema is essentially about action and reaction, not talk. There isn't much gab in the film, but the silences speak volumes.

At its center is an outstanding performance by Williams. She dials down her movie-star looks here with a close-cropped bob and shabby clothes, but the portrayal isn't of the starlet-makes-herself-frumpy-to-be-taken-seriously variety. Like everything else in the film, she delves into an interpretation that is stoic, stripped-down and unfailingly right."Phil Bacharach

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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