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Overall Rating
4.28

Awesome51.06%
Worth A Look: 29.79%
Average: 17.02%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 2.13%

8 reviews, 46 user ratings



You Can Count On Me
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by EricDSnider

"Siblings: gotta love 'em. Or kill them. Those are the only options."
4 stars

Sundance audiences loved writer/director Ken Lonergan's "You Can Count on Me," and it's easy to see why. Few films have ever captured quite so accurately the love-hate relationship between siblings.

What could be stranger than a family? People who may be absolutely 100 percent opposites who are nonetheless bound by genetics to love each other. It's madness!

This dichotomy is something that anyone who isn't an only child can relate to, yet it is rarely portrayed realistically in film. Movies show us the hate (usually in a comic manner), and they show us the love (usually in a generic manner) -- but they hardly ever show us how easily we slide from one emotion to the other, and how they sometimes even overlap.

"You Can Count on Me" does this very well, thanks to an excellent cast and insightful writing.

A melancholy, dramatic comedy, the film begins with a brief prologue that shows us the accidental death of young Sammy and Terry's parents in a small upstate New York town.

Flash forward to the present. Sammy (Laura Linney) is a loan officer at the local bank, still living in her childhood house and raising her son Rudy (Rory Culkin, brother of Macauley) by herself. Rudy Sr. was apparently a first-class creep, and no one misses him, though Rudy Jr. wonders about his dad.

In the midst of a brewing battle between Sammy and her new boss, the extremely anal Brian (Matthew Broderick), over whether she should be allowed to leave work for 15 minutes every day to pick her son up at school, Sammy hears from Terry (Mark Ruffalo) for the first time in quite a while. He's coming to visit.

Terry is fresh out of jail on a minor charge and about as irresponsible as they come. (Amusingly, he takes Rudy out late one night to hustle pool at the local pub.) He and Rudy connect, largely because they're more or less on the same level, and Rudy is glad to have a father figure in his life.

Tempers flare between Sammy and Terry, even as they try to help each other. Terry needs to get his head on straight, and Sammy needs to figure out why she gets involved with men who are no good for her.

Laura Linney gives a wonderful performance as Sammy. She's pretty and strong; I defy anyone to watch her and not like her. Mark Ruffalo, too, gives Terry more personality than just "The Slacker." There's a lot bubbling under the surface with him, and he has buttons that only Sammy knows how to push.

The film has a brooding quality about it, as it frequently breaks out into humor but more often stays in the shadows. The death of Sammy and Terry's parents permeates the action, which might make the film less appealing than if a more universal subject had been chosen (most people have families; not everyone's parents have died, though). Regardless, it's a smart movie with a lot of love behind it.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3907&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/07/03 13:11:57
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User Comments

4/04/12 David Hollingsworth Intelligent, uncliched look at sibling rivalry 5 stars
6/22/08 PAUL SHORTT VISUALLY FLAT, UNINTERESTING AND TOO OFTEN FEELS LIKE A FILMED PLAY 1 stars
6/05/07 Bitchflaps Admittedly well made, but overdeliberate drama didn't hold my attention. 3 stars
2/02/07 adam khan fantastic 5 stars
3/01/06 sbpat21 a perfect movie 5 stars
1/12/06 tatum Very good, realistic look at dysfunction 4 stars
5/05/05 Indrid Cold A subtle, intelligent drama; not exactly edge-of-your-seat entertainment. 3 stars
2/21/05 James Wood Very realistic quiet film with outstanding performances 5 stars
5/19/04 Lisa Brost One of the Best Movies I've Ever Seen! 5 stars
3/22/04 daveupho stunning writing + superb performances = awesome film 5 stars
1/23/04 Brendon One of the best films made. Unforgettable! 5 stars
9/07/03 R.W. Welch Existential family drama, convincingly done. 4 stars
7/08/03 Jack Sommersby A near-perfect masterpiece. Linney is extraordinary -- and so is the film. 5 stars
6/01/03 JoeSco Very Good - Laura Linney is excellent and should be an A-List actress on looks and talent 4 stars
1/01/03 Andy Todes finest american film in last 10 years ... easily 5 stars
11/27/02 swahid malook the best film i have seen in a very long time 5 stars
6/14/02 Simeon Briggs Pure high quality, pacing, character development all of the highest standard 5 stars
5/22/02 Phil M. Afficianado Engaging and "real" --- almost perfect, but the "boss affair" didn't have the ring of truth 4 stars
1/24/02 Paco Quiet, mature film. Heartbreaking, funny, and real. 5 stars
1/06/02 daniboy really enjoyable little film 5 stars
12/07/01 swahid malook it was the best film i had ever seen for along time since mac films 5 stars
10/01/01 David Swinton Great storyline and excellent acting (though can be slow in places) Go see it soon... 5 stars
9/27/01 SJKelley Well acted, well written, engaging. 5 stars
9/19/01 Jim Renwick To many this would be boring but it is simply a very good story on relationships 4 stars
8/18/01 G absolutely boooooringggggg 1 stars
8/07/01 Pierce Lanson A most remarkable unremarkable movie. Laura is extraordinarily beautiful 5 stars
8/07/01 Norm DePlume For fans of psychbabble, the film provides a testbook case of Adult Children/ACOA Syndrome 5 stars
7/13/01 bobbuttons i really enjoyed it 4 stars
7/07/01 Reini Urban The best "major" 2000. Only "Eureka" beat it. 5 stars
7/05/01 Sue Takes a good look at sibling relationships 4 stars
7/04/01 Monday Morning Loved Laura Linney. As for story, too many issues felt unresolved at end. 4 stars
7/03/01 The Bomb 69 good but overrated, solid story and performances, ending was weak though 4 stars
5/13/01 kenstillman ken lonergan hates all the current clichés I hate and avoids every single one of them 5 stars
4/12/01 Jay By far the best film I've seen all year. 5 stars
4/03/01 Kirsten So very true. Love, love, love this film. 5 stars
2/20/01 puckfreak Wait for video 3 stars
2/12/01 Jake Excellent film. A refreshing change from the mainstream. Great cast and story. 5 stars
2/07/01 Angela the most amazing movie that I've ever seen --- I went to the theatres 4 times! 5 stars
1/30/01 janelle see it. you WILL like it. 5 stars
1/11/01 Katsat Very real, touching. Linney has star quality--a prettier, more appealing Helen Hunt 5 stars
12/30/00 Charles Linney & Ruffalo convincingly depict the love/hate tension of sibling relationships 5 stars
12/17/00 Politicsman A good indie in a crappy year does not make this awesome 3 stars
12/17/00 Angus moorehead Now, people who can actually act. Mel Gibson should learn from this movie 5 stars
11/28/00 vitamin_D not one to whip out "fucking awesome" -- this is solid writing, good acting 4 stars
11/27/00 cathyz wonderful, funny, totally engaging 5 stars
11/26/00 lissa hugely affecting--a totally original movie about everyday life 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  10-Nov-2000 (R)
  DVD: 26-Jun-2001

UK
  N/A

Australia
  05-Jul-2001 (M)




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