Films & Schedules

  • Wendy and Lucy

  • Kelly Reichardt

80 minutes

Production Company:
Executive Producer:
Joshua Blum, Todd Haynes, Phil Morrison, Rajen Savjani
Larry Fessenden, Neil Kopp, Anish Savjani
Jon Raymond, Kelly Reichardt, based on the short story “Train Choir” by Jon Raymond
Production Designer:
Ryan Smith
Sam Levy
Kelly Reichardt
Eric Offin
Principal Cast: Michelle Williams, Will Patton, Larry Fessenden, Will Oldham

Canadian Distributor:
Mongrel Media
US Distributor:
Oscilloscope Laboratories
International Sales Agent:
Memento Films International

TIFF Tags: Poverty  Women 

Friday September 0507:45PM AMC 7 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Sunday September 0712:45PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 2 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

It is no secret that millions of people in North America are just one paycheque or mishap away from being flat broke. Wendy Carroll (Academy Award®-nominee Michelle Williams) is one of those people, which is why she is planning to move to Alaska with her dog Lucy to get a lucrative job in a fish cannery.

She gets as far as Oregon before her sad wreck of a car breaks down. The prospects of being able to fix it do not seem hopeful. While waiting for the mechanic's diagnosis, Wendy checks her finances. Things are looking bad. In a moment of desperation, she attempts to shoplift some dog food for Lucy, but is arrested and held at the police station. When she is finally released, she rushes back to the grocery store where she had tied Lucy up outside, only to find that her dog is gone.

On her ensuing quest to find Lucy and get her car fixed, Wendy crosses paths with an assortment of people – some of whom are helpful and others who are pitiless and cruel. Her experiences coalesce into a lesson that informs the direction not only of her journey, but ultimately of her life.

Kelly Reichardt (Old Joy) uses a deft and delicate directorial hand to explore Wendy's struggle for self-sufficiency in difficult circumstances and her unique relationship with her beloved Lucy. Williams works in subtle, understated ways – an actor who innately understands the power of silence. While Reichardt spares us the burden of back story, Williams is able to provide us with an inkling that Wendy is running away from something, and hoping for much more.

Each scene in Wendy and Lucy moves like a heartbeat – there is never an extraneous moment to muddy the film's pace. Nor is the story draped in sentimentality. It plays against the most obvious emotions, carefully building to an extraordinarily powerful and most unexpected conclusion.

Jane Schoettle

Kelly Reichardt was born in Miami, and directed the short films Ode (99), Then a Year (01), and Travis (04). Her feature films include River of Grass (94), Old Joy (06), which won a Tiger Award at the 2006 Rotterdam International Film Festival, and Wendy and Lucy (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award