Saturday, October 8, 2016

You Can Count on Me

Movie Name: You Can Count on Me
Year of Release: 2000
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Stars: Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, Rory Culkin, Jon Tenney, Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Ryan, Adam LeFevre, Halley Feiffer, Whitney Vance, Peter Kerwin
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

"You Can Count on Me" was Kenneth Lonergan's debut feature, and was met with universal praise upon its release at the Sundance Film Festival of 2000. The film follows the story of two siblings, Sammy and Terry, both of whom are quite close following the loss of their parents at a young age. While Sammy has stayed in their hometown, and is parenting a young boy on her own, Terry has drifted throughout the country. He returns to town completely broke, asking for Sammy's assistance, something she provides for, in the hopes he can also be a male reference figure to her young son Rudy. Sammy, who is dating someone, unexpectedly starts an affair with her boss, while Terry gets involved in a scuffle with Rudy's biological father. As their lives seem to be drifting in different directions, the siblings both come to terms with their decisions and lives.
Kenneth Lonergan's debut announced his voice as one to follow - stories based on the relationships between characters that have dimension, who are flawed, deeply human and relatable. "You Can Count on Me" manages to be simultaneously heartfelt punctuated with some dashes of comedy, much like relationships in real life, and very much like life in general. The dynamics between the siblings is impeccably brought to life by two fantastic actors: the wonderful Laura Linney who finally had a role that was at the center of the narrative, and the newcomer (at the time) Mark Ruffalo, who was just breaking out, and who was simply superb as Terry. This is a film that is successful in the depiction of the lives of characters that are eminently real, with heart and humor. A very good film worth watching.