Como yo no soy bueno escribiendo (o describiendo) las cosas que me gustan, aqui les dejo el review de The New York Times de la nueva película de Kelly Reichardt, "Wendy & Lucy". Fácilmente una de las mejores pelis del 2009, y el año acaba de comenzar. Si tienen la oportunidad, véanla. (Es un retrato sumamente bonito, sutil, y tristemente realista de nuestra generación, y de nuestros tiempos.)
This (New) American Life
By A. O. SCOTT
Published: December 10, 2008
Kelly Reichardt’s latest film, “Wendy and Lucy,” is 80 minutes long — it would fit inside Baz Luhrmann’s “Australia” twice, with room to spare — and does not contain a superfluous word or shot. Like “Old Joy” (2006), Ms. Reichardt’s modest and critically beloved second feature, “Wendy and Lucy” takes place mainly outdoors and registers the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest with unostentatious affection.
Instead of a musical soundtrack there is, for the most part, the sighing of the wind in the trees, the rumbling of freight trains and trucks and, sometimes, the absent-minded humming of Michelle Williams, who plays Wendy, a young woman drifting through Oregon and Washington on her way to Alaska.
The Northwestern setting might put you in mind of a story by Raymond Carver, whose clean-lined prose has something in common with Ms. Reichardt’s reserved and attentive shooting style. At first glance “Wendy and Lucy” looks so modest and prosaic that it seems like little more than an extended anecdote. A young woman pauses on her journey in a nondescript, weary town and encounters a run of bad luck, some of it brought about by her own bad decisions. Her car breaks down. She is arrested for shoplifting. Her dog goes missing.
But underneath this plain narrative surface — or rather, resting on it the way a smooth stone rests in your palm — is a lucid and melancholy inquiry into the current state of American society. Much as “Old Joy” turned a simple encounter between two longtime friends into a meditation on manhood and responsibility at a time of war and political confusion, so does “Wendy and Lucy” find, in one woman’s partly self-created hard luck, an intimation of more widespread hard times ahead.
This movie, which was shot in August 2007 and made its way through various international festivals before arriving in Manhattan on Wednesday, seems uncannily well suited, in mood and manner, to this grim, recessionary season. We may be seeing more like it, which I suppose would be a silver lining of sorts.
Ms. Reichardt, quietly establishing herself as an indispensable American filmmaker, explores some paradigmatic and contradictory native themes: the nature of solidarity in a culture of individualism; the tension between the lure of the open road and the longing for home; the competing demands of freedom and obligation.
But these lofty ideas — the same ones that animated Sean Penn’s “Into the Wild,” another movie about a young person’s trek toward Alaska — are grounded in an unyielding material reality, subject to the remorseless logic of the cash nexus. The most expressive, most heartbreaking moment in “Wendy and Lucy” involves a small sum of money changing hands, a gesture that encapsulates both Ms. Reichardt’s humanism and her unsentimental sense of economic reality. Whatever big dreams may be driving Wendy, her mind is necessarily focused on dollars and cents.
Ms. Williams, always a thoughtful, risk-taking actress (see everything from “Brokeback Mountain” to “I’m Not There” to “Synecdoche, New York”), here expunges all traces of movie star glamour, dressing in brown, knee-length cut-off shorts and a shapeless blue sweatshirt, and framing her delicate, slightly elfin face with drab dark hair. Wendy’s manner is wary and diffident, and she calculates the dangers and possibilities of every encounter as if she were counting out pennies and dimes. She confronts a casually indifferent, intermittently compassionate world with an attitude that seems at once independent and helpless. Contemplating the final leg of her journey, which began in Indiana, Wendy is resilient and determined. Also lost, terrified and alone.
Except, that is, for Lucy, the yellow-brown mutt who is her companion, her responsibility and one of the few fixtures in Wendy’s mobile, minimal world. She has, in addition to her dog, an old Honda Accord, a money belt and a notebook in which she carefully records mileage and expenses. Her plan is to find work in a fish cannery, maybe in Ketchikan.
“I hear they need people up there,” she says. It’s a plain and practical statement that is also terribly sad in its implications. Apart from Lucy, there may not be anyone else who needs or wants Wendy.
When Wendy calls her sister back in Indiana from a pay phone, the sister is curt and suspicious, expecting a request for money or assistance. Some of the strangers Wendy meets are a little more generous and encouraging, but always within the constraints of their own circumstances. A parking lot security guard (Walter Dalton) becomes the closest thing she has to a friend, but only after he has shooed her off the premises. A mechanic (Will Patton) knocks a few dollars off his towing fee and gives her the benefit of his automotive expertise, which may hurt more than it helps. With one exception — a young supermarket worker (John Robinson) who insists on strict enforcement of the store’s zero-tolerance policy toward shoplifters — people give Wendy a break when they can.
Ms. Williams and the filmmakers (Ms. Reichardt wrote the screenplay with Jon Raymond, from whose story “Train Choir” “Wendy and Lucy” is adapted) refrain from making too overt a play for our sympathy. Like the locals Wendy encounters, we don’t know enough about her to form a clear judgment, and we may subject her to our own doubts and prejudices.
I think the film’s neutral, nonexpository style encourages this, allowing the more conventional-minded among us to wonder if driving to Alaska is really the best idea, or to question the wisdom of other aspects of Wendy’s plan. Disapproving of Wendy’s choices is one route to caring about her, which in turn leads to some difficult, uncomfortable questions. What would any of us do in her situation? What would we do if we met someone like her? How can we be sure we haven’t?
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.