Kelly Reichardt’s film WENDY AND LUCY starring Michelle Williams makes the grade: the Glass Eye Pix production named one of 25 Best films since 2000. From The New York Times:
In Kelly Reichardt’s “Wendy and Lucy,” a young woman named Wendy passes through a Pacific Northwest town on her way to Alaska, where she hopes to find work. She has a little bit of money, an unreliable car and her dog, Lucy. This stripped-down tale of desperation and hope in hard times – a Raymond Carver story for the Great Recession – stars Michelle Williams, who talked with A.O. Scott about the experience of making it.
How did you first come to work with Kelly Reichardt?
Michelle WilliamsMutual friends. Laura Rosenthal, the casting director – we used to live in the same neighborhood and she stalked me at the local coffee shop. And then I watched “Old Joy” [also by Ms. Reichardt] and I knew that Kelly was making the movies that I wanted to be a part of.
Was there a challenge for you in getting into that character?
Kelly is very clear about what she wants. She is a really easy collaborator because she is so precise, so things happen very quickly. You understand the place and the person very quickly because she’s very specific about what she wants. She’s still open. I would shoot her ideas and she would say, “Come back in a week when you’ve honed that thing down from your garish, stupid, big idea to something that I might actually like, Michelle.”
Her characters aren’t very expressive or easy to read. That has to be a challenge for an actor.
I find Kelly’s characters get to maintain a lot of dignity and self-respect because they aren’t always giving themselves away. And I find that kind of tricky. It’s an incredibly fine line to walk. Is anybody going to know me? Is anybody going to understand who I am as this person? Are they going to care? Is there going to be a there, there?
And for Kelly’s language, for her sensibility, there is. These characters don’t feel compelled to explain themselves. You have to sort of train your ear and your eye and get to know them slowly. It’s like not sleeping with someone on the first date when you watch her movies. You’re like, let me take a little time to get to know you and absorb you.
“Wendy and Lucy” came out at the end of 2008, right in the middle of the election campaign and the economic collapse. There’s a powerful sense that while the movie is very much about this one young woman and her situation, it’s also about a lot more than that.
All of Kelly’s movies are political, but you would have to maybe have been told that to be aware of it. She’s able to slip it into everything she does, but it’s never didactic or heavy-handed. It’s an essential part of who Kelly is. She’s interested in a lot of genres, but the backbone of it is, how do people get along? How do people get by?
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