Wendy and Lucy


Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32

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Critic Reviews

  1. 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.
  2. Wendy and Lucy is modest, minimalist. But it nonetheless reverberates like a sonic boom.
  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. 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.
  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
    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
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 90
    Williams' performance is remarkable not only for its depth but for its stillness.
  11. 88
    Simple story, beautifully told.
  12. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    An evocative film with a believable and subtly enthralling lead performance that gets deeply under your skin.
  13. 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.
  14. 88
    Another illustration of how absorbing a film can be when the plot doesn't stand between us and a character.
  15. 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.
  16. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    "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.
  17. 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.
  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. 75
    The transformation undergone by Michelle Williams to play this role is nothing short of astounding.
  22. 75
    Reichardt doesn't so much tell a story as paint a finely detailed portrait of human suffering in this miniature marvel.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. A film that might have seemed faintly academic six months ago becomes an anxious expression of its historical moment.
  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. 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. 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.
  30. Reviewed by: Anna Smith
    Slow, ponderous, meticulously rendered realism that will appeal to specific audiences of slow, ponderous, meticulously rendered realism, with a heart.
  31. 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.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 55 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 26
  2. Negative: 11 out of 26
  1. May 26, 2015
    Michelle Williams is one of the photogenic face in Hollywood and also like her performance. But won the negative impression of mine overMichelle Williams is one of the photogenic face in Hollywood and also like her performance. But won the negative impression of mine over portrayal of her character in 'Take This Waltz'. Doing a villainous role may get appreciation, for example, the Joker from Batman, but doing things that affect morality is really hurt if you really like that person. After that movie, I was not into her films and she also did not do any major roles. Accidentally I came to know about this movie, which is in fact a bit older movie than what I was talking about and after knowing more about it, I got interested and I could not resist from watching. Frankly, this movie filled the gap created by the earlier crack.

    This movie falls in the line of 'Open Road' and 'Into the Wild' when it comes to rendering the main character. If you have already seen those two, or any other similar flicks, then you would find this movie was very much intense. Wendy, a woman in her late 20s with her dog Lucy are on an expedition to the other end of the country seeking a solution to the difficulty for having a normal life and job. One must have to keep walking on either of way to see a light at the end of the tunnel and that's what Wendy does here.

    "You can't get an address without an address.
    You can't get a job without a job."

    This movie commence middle of her destination, where she's stranded after her car broke-down. It won't say anything about the earlier account of Wendy or what might happen after the timeline of this film. All the 80 minute of narration takes place in the Oregon city which is just a glimpse of her life for us as a movie, but a major impact thenceforth in her life. The struggle during fixing her car is what depicted simply, but beautifully on the screen.

    The story is about the man and his pet's relationship, that's what the meaning of the title, like 'Marley & Me'. Also being a young woman, society is no safe for roaming freely all the places alone at all the time. Plain drama, it was, but something meaningful story, a lesson to learn, a character to study and a life to experience. A kind of journey of self- discovery during understanding how the civil system works. Thematically there's nothing wrong, but 'setting an example' wise, this movie is not safer for other than the adults. Among the best movies of the year it was released. Impossible not to recommend others, especially by me to you perhaps.

    Full Review »
  2. Jul 13, 2013
    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 killWow! 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 »
  3. Aug 27, 2010
    A film that revels in its mediocrity - though it tries, it is neither fun, insightful nor observant. It's only saving grace is MichelleA 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 »