Release Date: Dec. 10 (limited)
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Writer: Jonathan Raymond, Reichardt
Cinematographer: Sam Levy
Starring: Michelle Williams, Walter Dalton, Will Patton
Studio/Run Time: ?Oscilloscope Pictures, 80 mins.
Minimalist film with emotional depth
The title’s no misnomer—this indie gem is the story of a girl (Michelle Williams as Wendy) and her dog. It’s based on a short story and feels like one—every thread that’s separated is woven back in. But the fact that the simple construct yields such a rich world is a triumph, thanks in no small part to director Kelly Reichardt’s hawk-like narrative focus and good casting sense. Wendy is a drifter on the road with little more than an old Honda, a dwindling supply of $20s strapped to her body, and her canine companion Lucy. Williams’ award-worthy restraint lets us feel far more than the dialogue offers. Wendy is heading to Alaska to work at a fish cannery, but when her car breaks down in small-town Oregon, she’s forced to face the rules of society. And as someone on the fringe, the costs and consequences are higher, even if the crimes are lower. Wendy’s ultimate decision is gut-wrenching, a reminder that desperation often leads to our greatest acts of love—and loss.