One Woman and Her Dog: Kelly Reichardt's Latest Latest Film Revives Italian Neo-Realism in America's West

By Gilbey, Ryan | New Statesman (1996), March 9, 2009 | Go to article overview

One Woman and Her Dog: Kelly Reichardt's Latest Latest Film Revives Italian Neo-Realism in America's West


Gilbey, Ryan, New Statesman (1996)


Wendy and Lucy (15)

dir: Kelly Reichardt

You don't rush Kelly Reichardt. Her dreamy 1994 debut, River of Grass, was an anti-Bonnie and Clyde story (the main characters believe they've committed a murder, but haven't). Twelve years later she made Old Joy, an elliptical and, yes, dreamy study of the briefly reignited friendship between two former pals, one poised to become a father, the other practically a hobo. With uncharacteristic haste, she has now directed her follow-up. And if Wendy and Lucy is another Reichardtian story of an odd couple adrift in America--assuming that so underproductive a director can be awarded her own adjective--it does vary in one crucial respect: the dreaminess is gone. It's time to wake up.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Wendy Carroll (Michelle Williams) is travelling with her scrawny golden retriever, Lucy, to Ketchikan, Alaska, to find work at the Northwestern Fish cannery. "They need people," Wendy says in one of many weighted utterances in a script (by Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond) that is haunted by Beckett and Pinter. Woman and dog stop in a nondescript town in Oregon, where they snooze in the car. Next morning, a security guard (Walter Dalton) with a tobacco-yellow mane gently asks if the vehicle can be moved, but it won't start. Wendy crunches the key in the ignition, struggling to conceal her despair like a boozer trying to hold steady his seventh highball.

Until now, Michelle Williams has been known for one scorching moment--recoiling mutely from her husband's infidelity in Brokeback Mountain - which proved how forceful minimalism could be. She plays variations on that note of strangulated misery throughout Wendy and Lucy. Apart from a brief crying scene, she stays reined-in for the entire film, wearing a tomboyish shag-cut that suggests a hairdresser's revenge. Wendy uses little more than a hurt look to implore a supermarket manager not to call the police when she is caught shoplifting. She stifles her panic when the cops haul her away, leaving Lucy outside the shop. When she returns to find Lucy gone, she has to plead with a whole new set of officials at the dog pound, where the pooch may be languishing.

The film is taken up with Wendy's search for Lucy - she pins handmade posters around town, and that nice security guard lets her use his mobile to hassle the pound. They chat. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

One Woman and Her Dog: Kelly Reichardt's Latest Latest Film Revives Italian Neo-Realism in America's West
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.