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Overall Rating

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

8 reviews, 46 user ratings

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You Can Count On Me
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Stephen Groenewegen

"Sammy and Brian Get Laid"
3 stars

You Can Count On Me is a small film, but an accomplished debut for writer-director Kenneth Lonergan.

Laura Linney is Sammy Prescott, a divorced single mother to eight year old Rudy (Rory Culkin) in Scottsville, small-town USA. Sammy has an undemanding job at the local bank, and a routine occasional boyfriend (Jon Tenney). Her ordered world is disrupted by two near-simultaneous arrivals: a new bank manager (Brian, played by Matthew Broderick) and the return home of her younger brother Terry (Mark Ruffalo) - a drifter who moves on when trouble catches up with him.

It's refreshing to see a film about adult siblings, even if Lonergan's nicely detailed script ultimately treads a familiar path. The way it's written, these characters have few options; their lives feel pre-ordained. Sammy's affair with the married Brian is only going to end up one way, and it's difficult to believe that Terry, no matter how successful a father figure for Rudy, will ever happily settle in Scottsville.

Nevertheless, the principals make the film enjoyable. Linney is a charming actress. Equally good as a naïve innocent (Tales of the City) or calculating bitch (The House of Mirth), she gives Sammy a fully-rounded characterisation, and doesn't plead for a sentimental response. Ruffalo's performance initially seems very mannered - he conspicuously mumbles through his first scene with Sammy. He relaxes as the film progresses (or maybe I got used to him). Ruffalo has the rough charisma of Marlon Brando in his early film roles and, if audiences take to him (he features in John Woo's World War II extravaganza Windtalkers later in the year), he could become a star. The rest of the actors seem right for their roles, without being exceptional.

Lonergan takes a fairly objective view of his characters, when he could easily have told his story from one character's perspective (I was relieved we were spared the cliche of Rudy reminiscing about this as the formative time of his life). But his objectivity also distanced me from the characters, and I cared less about their predicament than I expected.

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originally posted: 07/04/01 08:05:41
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User Comments

4/04/12 David Hollingsworth Intelligent, uncliched look at sibling rivalry 5 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
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  10-Nov-2000 (R)
  DVD: 26-Jun-2001


  05-Jul-2001 (M)

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