Dear Wendy

"Terrible"

Dear Wendy Review


For the most part, 2005 was a great year for movies about something. I won't go through all the titles, but it was obvious that for once in a very long time, directors were good and angry. So, it comes as a large disappointment that Thomas Vinterberg's Dear Wendy fails to get away from its own self-masturbatory America-is-stupid letterhead of war as a means of peace. Gee, I wonder if Vinterberg and screenwriter Lars Von Trier are talking about Bush's "war for peace" and America's botched pacifism.

Set in the unidentifiable town known as Estherslope in some unknown time (confusing since there is a huge Axe deodorant spray advertisement in one scene), Dick (Jamie Bell) lives with his miner father and Clarabelle (Novella Nelson), the family maid. He takes a job at a supermarket and generally acts lonely constantly, especially when his father dies in the mines. At the supermarket, he meets Steven (Mark Webber), a young man exactly like him. Things light up between them when Steven sees Dick with a small gun that Dick thinks is a toy; it isn't. They begin to meet, and slowly form the Dandies, a gang of people who love guns but never use them. All is well in their lives until the sheriff (Bill Pullman) puts Dick in charge of checking in on Clarabelle's grandson, Sebastian (Danso Gordon), a small-time murderer. Sebastian takes liberties with Dick's gun (the titular Wendy) and, well, things don't end well.

I wouldn't go so far as to call the film racist, but the black characters here are the ones that incite the eventual downfall of the Dandies and most of the white kids are seen as eccentric, but by no means dumb or dangerous. Susan (Alison Pill) is devoid of any character besides the fact that she shows her breasts to Dick to show how she's "grown." Now, both these things would work if the film itself had a message, as a whole, about the ways modern Hollywood sees race and females. However, that doesn't happen because we are supposed to be inside the story, and understanding that peace and self-confidence through machines of war and violence can never truly exist. The film desperately wants to believe that it's making a grand gesture, but both these ideas have been done in much smarter, subtler, and more dangerous ways. To quote a saying I never really understood, they want to have their cake and eat it too.

That's all simply about the subtext, but the film also doesn't work as entertainment value either. We are watching a club of misfits play with guns and make up procedures and share information, without any major social interaction between them besides talking about guns. The climax, an act of violence by Clarabelle, has no relevance since it's never taken seriously until the Dandies declare war on the police, which is the last scene of the film. The characters simply don't matter to us because they have taken no action to allow the audience to connect with them as people. They are just silly kids, in their fantasy world of confidence through pseudo-violence. It's a charade and Vinterberg and Von Trier, both talented men, are trying to pass it off as high concept. It's an act of utter distrust and holier-than-thou sentiment towards the audience and there's not one iota of sentimentality or sincerity in the whole thing. It's a private joke for two guys who should know better.



Dear Wendy

Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Friday 4th February 2005

Distributed by: Wellspring Media

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 36%
Fresh: 23 Rotten: 41

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Sisse Graum Olsen

Starring: as Dick Dandelion, as Krugsby, as Freddie, Danso Gordon as Sebastian, as Susan

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.