DRAMA; 1hr 20min
STARRING: Michelle Williams, Will Patton
On her way to Alaska to seek work in a fish cannery, Wendy Carroll (Williams) is arrested for stealing dog food in an Oregon town saturated in drabness. While she goes through the snail-paced motions of being fingerprinted and charged, her dog Lucy disappears from outside the grocery store where she was tied up. Lucy is a bouncy yellow mutt and apparently all that Wendy has, apart from a broken-down Honda and — as underplayed by an acutely attuned Williams, her hair dark and cropped, her face bare of makeup — a quiet will to keep going.
With no car, no dog and little cash (and no explanation of how she came to be brought so low), Wendy is forced to stay put, sleeping rough and waiting out the long days for news of the missing Lucy. It’s a miserable subsistence, perceptively delineated in its mundane and crushing detail by director Kelly Reichardt, who co-adapted the screenplay with author Jon Raymond from his 2008 short story “Train Choir”. Their account of Wendy’s fragile, unrealised, barely visible life is an indelible dissection of endurance in the margins.