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Catherine Keener on Michelle Williams in ‘Wendy and Lucy’

Actors champion fellow colleagues in 2008 performances

While I was watching director Kelly Reichardt’s new film, “Wendy and Lucy,” my dog joined me on the couch. She’s a boxer-pit mix, brindle, who is surprisingly shy despite her intimidating physique. Usually, she buries her head into the blanket so her ears won’t hurt from the fast cuts, sound effects and deafening assault of TV noise. Instead, the film allows you to breathe through long shots and a beautiful pace. I like to think she sat through it, though, curious for the same reasons as I did. The film is centered around the relationship between partners: Wendy and her dog, Lucy. Michelle Williams’ performance is exquisite and not unlike Lucy’s. Their friendship is beyond words, and watching them just be together shows us how deep it can get when you’re not overtalking and overdoing things.

As Wendy, Michelle is intimate, extremely personal and soul-baring. She embodies the closest kind of bond between people and animals. The movie allows us to see what it’s like for two sentient beings who have no choice but to be with each other, emotionally and always in the present. When they look into each other’s eyes, confidence builds as they see only the best in each other. Neither one could ask for a better acting partner.

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