Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. Wendy and Lucy is modest, minimalist. But it nonetheless reverberates like a sonic boom.
  2. This is where the movie excels. In the classic neo-realist tradition, it's scant in plot yet rich in mood and character, offering us a revealing hint here, a poignant glimpse there, with each revelation filtered through Michelle Williams's superbly muted performance, all the more moving for being so restrained.
  3. It's a tender, tough, uncompromising film, photographed with a disarming directness and seeming simplicity that looks almost naked next to the dramatic constructions of most films. It just makes her precariousness all the more real.
  4. Improbably, it's one of the most affecting films of the year, which once again demonstrates that all you need to make a good movie is talent.
  5. Wendy and Lucy is like "Lassie Come Home" directed by Antonioni. What's piercing about it, and also disturbing, is that Reichardt views the renunciation of society with something close to righteous purity -- as a lefty romantic dream.
  6. 91
    The film is exquisitely realized, with a tremendous, naturalistic performance by Michelle Williams at its heart and a pervasive, assuring sense that Reichardt and Raymond have distilled everything nonessential from their story and imparted exactly the impact they wished.
  7. 91
    Having the dog around raises the emotional stakes tenfold, and develops a kinship with Vittorio De Sica's Italian neo-realist classic "Umberto D.," which also revealed societal ills through a poignant dog-owner relationship
  8. 90
    Trembling throughout on the verge of a tearful breakdown, but far too dignified to allow her character to choke up, Williams delivers a sensationally nuanced performance that, were it not so resolutely undramatic, would constitute an aria of stoical misery.
  9. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    90
    Williams' performance is remarkable not only for its depth but for its stillness.
  10. 90
    What will happen to her? The strength of this short, simple, perfect story of a young woman and her dog is that this does not seem, by the end, to be an idle or trivial question. What happens to Wendy -- and to Lucy -- matters a lot, which is to say that Wendy and Lucy, for all its modesty, matters a lot too.
  11. 88
    Simple story, beautifully told.
  12. 88
    Another illustration of how absorbing a film can be when the plot doesn't stand between us and a character.
  13. 88
    Within the confines of this minimalist picture, there are sequences so vital, timely and of-the-moment, so powerful and well-observed and precise, the effect can be emotionally overwhelming.
  14. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    An evocative film with a believable and subtly enthralling lead performance that gets deeply under your skin.
  15. 88
    Wendy Carroll is a character we rarely see in movies anymore, a woman left alone with her thoughts. That a moviegoer would care what she's thinking testifies to the power in Williams's brand of solitude.
  16. 80
    Reichardt is a tremendously conscientious filmmaker, and not out to torture the audience. Yes, this is a fraught and agonizing story, but the way it ends, although heartbreaking, is absolutely right.
  17. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    80
    "Old Joy" helmer Kelly Reichardt plays to her strengths in Wendy and Lucy, a modest yet deeply felt road movie about an idealistic young drifter, her faithful canine and the wide-open spaces of the Pacific Northwest.
  18. In a minimalist film of muted emotions, Michelle Williams gives as lovely a performance as a moviegoer could ask for.
  19. 80
    Masterful low-budget drama.
  20. Because Wendy and Lucy is so lean on plot and dialogue, there are long spaces to contemplate Wendy and her situation, and the logistics are mind-boggling.
  21. If a Warner Bros. social-protest film from the early 1930s somehow got into bed with an American indie from the 1970s, how would the love-child turn out? Like this.
  22. 75
    Reichardt doesn't so much tell a story as paint a finely detailed portrait of human suffering in this miniature marvel.
  23. A film that might have seemed faintly academic six months ago becomes an anxious expression of its historical moment.
  24. Reviewed by: Josh Ralske
    75
    Reichardt is such a canny filmmaker that one could almost believe that she intentionally leaves Wendy underwritten and a bit of a cipher, because Wendy is far more effective as a bold-faced symbol of the downtrodden than as a fully realized human character.
  25. 75
    The transformation undergone by Michelle Williams to play this role is nothing short of astounding.
  26. 75
    Too often when actors portray complicated or enigmatic characters, they seem to be flirting with the audience, playing hard to get. Not Williams.
  27. Reviewed by: Don R. Lewis
    70
    Unless you're an antsy movie-goer or have a cold heart, by the end of Wendy and Lucy, you'll be engrossed, hoping for the best possible outcome.
  28. 70
    She's infuriating, but the movie, for all its morose impassivity, is beautiful and haunting.
  29. Reviewed by: Anna Smith
    60
    Slow, ponderous, meticulously rendered realism that will appeal to specific audiences of slow, ponderous, meticulously rendered realism, with a heart.
  30. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    60
    For all its virtues, Wendy and Lucy seems like the most overrated of art movies. Yes, it's obscure and distancing and makes you pay attention. Williams's performance is nuanced, moving and well worth any awards she gets. But Wendy is also anonymous.
  31. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    50
    Michelle Williams does her best but she cannot prevent Kelly Reichardt's Wendy and Lucy, a weak tale about being broke and on the road in rural America, from dwindling into boredom.
  32. Like a worst-case-scenario, indie-movie cliché, Wendy and Lucy throws every bone it can at the screen.
User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 51 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 25
  2. Negative: 11 out of 25
  1. Jul 13, 2013
    0
    Wow! That was a waste of time. Firstly, Wendy and Lucy it is such a boring and lame and stupid film that it will make you want to kill yourself. One hour and twenty minutes wasted in my life that I would rather had been knocking my head on the ground. Nothing happens in that film and when she find Lucy she just leaves her-AGAIN!!! I watched the first 30 minutes and then the ending. Don't watch it unless you are depressed and you prefer to watch that film rather than cutting your self. Maybe Wendy and Lucy it's worse. Full Review »
  2. Aug 27, 2010
    2
    A film that revels in its mediocrity - though it tries, it is neither fun, insightful nor observant. It's only saving grace is Michelle Williams' heartbreaking performance. Full Review »