You Can Count On Me Reviews
This is a subtle, deft character study that features strong performances by the two leads. Laura Linney's trademark awkward strength -- exhibited here by her clearing a nightstand, everything crashing to the floor, then silently wondering if she did it correctly -- is on full display as well as her moments of giddiness, similar to the staircase celebration in Love Actually. Mark Ruffalo plays the troubled rebel well.
I did think the film's pacing was too slow at points. And there are some moments in the narration when I wondered if the film had a thematic purpose. It doesn't; we just get to know some people during the film's two hours. An example of the film's stuttered narration: I didn't see the motive for Sammy to bring in the priest to talk to her brother, and the first scene had very little to do with the rest of the film.
Overall, it's great to see a good character study, but a well-constructed story following it is missing from this relatively strong film.
It centers around a brother and sister who were orphaned as children due to the death of their parents in a car accident. The sister grows to become a single mother living in the very same Catskill town raising an 8 year old son. When her brother who just seems to float around arrives for a visit, things come to the surface of the sleepy town of Scottsville New York for better or worse depending on the viewpoint or timing.
Terry(Ruffalo) bonds with Rudy(Culkin), and wants to give him a broader perspective that he lacks in his small-town childhood by showing and telling him things that have been lost to his fathertless existence.
Simplicity is really what makes this film work because there are no big bugdget Hollywood effects. The film's wheels turn with no more than an apt score and some fine acting revealing characters like those you may know in your very life.
DIRECTED BY: Kenneth Lonergan
SUMMARY: Single mom Sammy Prescott (Laura Linney) is already preoccupied with raising her son (Rory Culkin), who's become sullen -- and curious about his missing dad -- when her wayward brother, Terry (Mark Ruffalo), appears, instantly bonding with the boy and instigating a perilous father-son reunion. Meanwhile, Sammy is embroiled in a half-hearted affair with her new boss (Matthew Broderick).
MY THOUGHTS: "I think the thing that had me so interested and glued to the movie was how honest both characters were, how real Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo made their characters, and that they're characters people can relate to. Good story that doesn't hang on the past. Just a well acted honest story of two siblings trying to make it with what life has dealt them. Rory Culkin did great in this movie as well. I loved it, and definitely recommend it."
Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo are perfect in this beautiful offering to cinema.
[font=Arial][color=darkred]In film, quite often do we see the relationships of sisters or brothers (maybe too often). Rarely, though, do we see a thorough drama hinged upon the relationship of a brother and sister. Both torn by their genders yet always drawn together. You may kid, and get angry, but when danger arises you will always come to the defense of your sibling. It's this seperational friction yet togetherness that creates the brother-sister bond.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo are brother and sister who years ago lost their parents to a horrible automobile accident when they were young. Forced with the battle of growing up with grief, each goes their seperate way. Ruffalo is branded the "difficult" rebelious one, yet deep down he knows that his publically deified sister is just as much the rebel. Linney is a single mother dealing with the pressures of raising her son (a Culkin kid) and working in her town's bank branch headed by her new boss (Matthew Broderick). Her brother reappears in her life suddenly and the two learn a little form each other. With her brother she can rely on someone else to watch her child and experiences another flash of the mischief that she had to forfeit from her childhood in order to raise her younger brother. Ruffalo provides he male figure her son is lacking and begins to shed the boy's overprotection and opens him up to the world. One experiences responsibility, one experiences release - but do eaither learn? That is a good question.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Lonergan crafts a subtle texture that allows his characters to breathe and grow, but not necesarrily learn. His modest character driven picture may make you think of Made for TV but its a slice of life that's immersable. It's hard to find a film that is subtle, at its own pace, and restrained when it needs to be.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Linney is fantastic as the sister that breaks loose and winds up sleeping with her boss with reckless childish rebellion. Her performance is an Oscar nomination lock as her character runs the emotional gambit. Ruffalo is amazing and establishes himself as one to surely look out for. his mannerisms and expressions are wonderful and his demeanor is reminscent of Marlon Brando.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]'You Can Count On Me' is a wonderfully affecting story about people who are more complicated then simple plot synopsis will allow. Lonergan has crafted something of an anomally in modern cinema: a film that takes its time, doesn't answer any questions, but makes us feel all the more better after seeing it.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate's Grade: B+ [/color][/font]