In 2005, my friend and I grabbed day passes to the Toronto International Film Fest and coordinated 25 films that incorporated our varying tastes. Film after film was a bad choice, and we began to feel defeated and tired. Then we strolled into Dear Wendy. My appreciation for Lars von Trier had led this choice, and I was expecting a simple, sullen, and strange film, but feared that it would follow this trend of bad choices.
But both of us were transfixed. The creativity of the story was palpable in every scene, as viewers were led through the loveletter to a gun named Wendy, and the lives of gun-toting pacifists. While some aspects of the film mirrored the simplicity of Dogville, it was filled with more stunning visuals, depth, whimsy, and irresistible moments of engagement. It was sweet and fairy tale-ish while also dark and rife with social commentary. By the end, we sat on the edge of our seats, eager to see how it would turn out (and run to the next film that was starting in 10 minutes). We wished it over so that we could make the next film, while wishing we could stay in the world so much longer. The ending seemed to come too soon. The credits rolled, and my cynical moviegoing friend was moved to loud applause and a roaring: "Stupendous!"
The bottom clip merges many of my favorite aspects of the film. There's the strangeness of the love letter, the unique and spot-on casting, from Jamie Bell to American Pie's Chris Owen, and Almost Famous' Michael Angarano, and the chilling, perfect accompaniment of The Zombies.