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R

Michelle Williams, Lucy the dog

Security Guard: You can’t get an address without an address. You can’t get a job without a job.

Wendy (Williams), seemingly jobless and homeless, is on her way to Alaska to look for work.  Along with her is her trusty dog, Lucy.  After her car breaks down in Oregon, Wendy is busted for shoplifting.  When she gets out of jail, Wendy can’t find her dog anywhere.  Wendy must simultaneously search for her dog, figure out a way to get her car fixed, and find a place to sleep and food to eat.

This is definitely one of those movies where we basically just see one small slice of a person’s life.  We have no real back story on Wendy or character development.  All we know is that she’s looking for work and doesn’t seem to have much of a family life, judging by a quick call to her sister who doesn’t seem at all interested in speaking to her.

Other than that, we just know she’s a girl struggling to get by every day.  I like the choice of not giving her any real back story, because that’s how it is in real life when you see a homeless person or drifter.  You don’t know their past, you can only see their current situation.

Michelle Williams definitely makes for a sympathetic lead character.  Though, I can’t decide if it’s all in her performance or if it’s because she’s cute.  Either way, I definitely felt sorry for her and frustrated at the situation she’s found herself in.

Another aspect I liked was the realism in how people helped her.  The security guard that helps her out doesn’t do so with big, sweeping, unrealistic gestures.  He does so in a way that still keeps him a bit at arms length.  Directions to various places, use of his cell phone, and a few dollars to help her out.

There are a few random scenes here and there that seemed out of place or unnecessary, and the film as a whole is a bit bleak, but I guess it needs to be in this case.  It wouldn’t be true to the movie to have a hip indie soundtrack or to have some sort of romantic interest for Wendy come out of nowhere.  The movie sticks with its established feel throughout, and that’s a good thing.

Overall, it’s not a great film, but it’s a good one, even though I’m not sure I entirely believe Wendy would make the decision she made in the end.  That seemed a little forced.

10 – 1.3 for some slow, odd sections + .4 for Michelle Williams’ performance – 1.2 for hard to swallow ending = 7.9