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Wendy and Lucy is a 2008 American drama film directed by Kelly Reichardt. Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond adapted the screenplay from Raymond's short story "Train Choir." The film had its world première at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and was screened at several additional film festivals before receiving a limited theatrical release in the United States on December 10, 2008.


Wendy Carroll is a young woman who sets her sights on Alaska in hopes of starting a new life with her dog Lucy. Several obstacles impede her progress, forcing her to confront her increasingly dire financial situation. Stranded in Oregonmarker when her car breaks down and lacking the funds to repair it, Wendy faces yet another challenge when she is apprehended for shoplifting and Lucy disappears while she is in police custody. She finally learns she was taken to the local pound and adopted and decides that is better than anything she could offer the dog herself, so she gathers up her belongings and hops on a freight train headed north, leaving Lucy behind.


Critical reception

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times, said “Ms. Reichardt makes palpably, tragically real what it means to be struggling at the very edge of the economic abyss. WENDY AND LUCY is political to the bone but without any of the usual grandstanding.”

Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times described the film as “a keenly observational look at the increasing struggle to just get through the day. With a riveting, delicate performance by Michelle Williams, the film builds to something enigmatic and moving.”

Kent Jones of Cinema Scope called the film "an unqualified triumph" and that "Williams gives a prodigiously focused and resourceful performance."

Larry Gross of Film Comment characterized Wendy and Lucy as establishing "Reichardt, beyond question, as one of the few masters now working in American independent film."

The film won both Best Picture and Best Actress at the 12th Toronto Film Critics Association Awards.

Top ten lists

The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008, including those of the Chicago Reader, New York Post, Newsweek, The Austin Chronicle, LA Weekly, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, The Oregonian, Slate, The Village Voice, and The Christian Science Monitor.



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