Wendy and Lucy (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes

Wendy and Lucy2008

Wendy and Lucy (2008)



Critic Consensus: Michelle Williams gives a heartbreaking performance in Wendy and Lucy, a timely portrait of loneliness and struggle.

Wendy and Lucy Photos

Movie Info

Old Joy director Kelly Reichardt crafts this intimate tale of Wendy, an alienated Indiana woman who packs up her car and sets her sights on Alaska, but finds herself stranded in a small Oregon town with no money and only her faithful dog, Lucy, to keep her company. When Wendy realizes that there's nothing keeping her in her home state of Indiana, she makes the decision to relocate to Alaska and seek out work at the local fish cannery. With her four-legged friend Lucy in the passenger seat next to her, Wendy stops off to get some rest in a small Oregon town. The following morning, when Wendy attempts to start her car, the engine fails to respond. But this is only the first in a series of snowballing events, because as Wendy waits for the local garage to open she heads to the supermarket to pick up some dog food for Lucy. Opting to shoplift the puppy chow since she doesn't have much cash to speak of, Wendy subsequently finds herself in the local jail thanks to an overzealous employee. By the time Wendy pays her fine and gets back to the supermarket, Lucy is gone. Unfortunately the dog pound doesn't open until the following morning, and after receiving some help from a kindly local, Wendy gets some particularly bad news about her car. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Walter Dalton
as Security Guard
Will Patton
as Mechanic
Larry Fessenden
as Man in Park
Lucy the Dog
as Herself
David Koppell
as Kid by Fire
Max Clement
as Kid by Fire
Sid Shanley
as Kid by Fire
Dave Hubner
as Kid by Fire
Roger Faires
as recycler in wheelchair
Boggs Johnson
as recycling man
Tanya Smith
as grocery checker
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Critic Reviews for Wendy and Lucy

All Critics (185) | Top Critics (58)

In happy sum, Reichardt is one more of the current American directors, most of them still young, who are endowing our film world with pleasure and hope.

March 27, 2015 | Full Review…

I expect there will be more stories like Wendy and Lucy's in the coming months and years. The wonder will be if they articulate their compassion and distress with such unforced eloquence.

March 27, 2015

The climax is a heartbreaker, and in its haunting finale the movie recalls no less than Mervyn LeRoy's Depression-era classic I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang.

March 27, 2015 | Full Review…

Michelle Williams is in every scene of Wendy and Lucy, and ably carries that burden -- with her dark pixie haircut and cut-offs, she looks frighteningly vulnerable, an indie urchin stuck in circumstances both dire and mundane.

March 27, 2015

Evanescent and intangible, it dissolves into the air, leaving something tragic and mysterious behind.

July 7, 2010 | Full Review…

Wendy and Lucy is too laconic to be mistaken for a social drama, but it's set in a land whose harshness seems to a require a stronger critique than Reichardt's vignettes.

July 7, 2010 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Wendy and Lucy


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer


I appreciated the "contemporary Jack London story" vibe of this one, but it's hard to invest in such a thin plot: a woman with nothing but her dog loses her dog. Minimalist film, and based on a short story, but there's just not quite enough here - even for its paltry 80 minutes.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

There isn't much to this film in that it has a stable plot or can carry a story. It's more a portrait of a sad lonely, pathetically poor girl who can't catch a break no matter what. It really is a heart wrenching film because of the time it was set and the probable fact that many people have gone through this phase of life and have been met with a cool, cruel world. Wendy has very little money, no job, and a car that is giving her trouble. One mistake prompts an avalanche of bad luck from the dinky Oregon town where she is stranded. One user has commented that she finds the townspeople to be kind in the face of the disparity of her situation, and she in turn should be kind. I'm not sure if this film is trying to be at all uplifting or commenting on people still having empathy during any economic crisis or for people suffering through it. It's more just about Wendy as a person, the trials of her life, and the sacrifices she has to make to survive, some of them heartbreaking to watch. She gives up all sense of pride in this film and comes out looking more saddened than anything. People in our country were one paycheck away from living on the streets as of 2008, and even today, so this film is full of commentary on the state of our nation. More importantly though, this film is timeless because of the empathy any of us feel for another human being and the struggles we all must go through in order to survive. Wendy does survive, and most of the film reflects her solidarity, her losses, and isolation. Overall I found this to be more of a downer than anything, with a strong performance from Michelle Williams, as she again exhibits all the qualities of the great actress she is. Worth seeing, no matter what year it is.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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