You Can Count On Me - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

You Can Count On Me Reviews

Page 1 of 35
May 3, 2019
I just love character study based films like this that don't feel the need to be overly plotty or to divert your interest with violence or dramatic third act twists that upend everything. Much like An Unmarried Woman (1978) we come to understand our central character completely as we learn to accept her flaws and recognize the connections between the traumas she has experienced and her endless love and support for her wayward brother. The relationship between them was complex but real and honest in a way that few films manage to capture, they don't have a big tearful reunion but they have come to know that they can always rely on one another. If you love Paul Mazursky or early Atom Egoyan, without the sex stuff, this is on the same wavelength and it treats it's female characters with respect.

Sammy, Laura Linney, is a single mother who is still affected by the death of both of her parents as a young child and when her struggling, immature brother Terry, Mark Ruffalo, comes to stay the past comes back to haunt her. A strong bond forms between Terry and Rudy, Rory Culkin, Sammy's son while Sammy begins an affair with her boss Brian, Matthew Broderick, who is married and about to be a new father. Tensions arise between Sammy and Terry when he makes questionable decisions by taking Rudy to a bar late at night however the two will reconcile their differences with one another because their bond is so strong.

Laura Linney gives one of the greatest performances I have ever seen in the lead role as a troubled, complex woman who is completely sympathetic even as she enters into a relationship with a married soon to be father. When she finally breaks down and begins asking more of those around her instead of enduring all of the requests that are placed upon her that continue to weigh her down it is a moment of victory. We always feel the pain of her parent's premature death in Linney's performance as her every smile is strained and her facial expressions are streaked with a depressing amount of self-doubt. She is Sammy as I completely forgot that I was watching an actress giving a performance and completely gave myself over to the film.

The film resists melodrama other than the brief scene in which Terry confronts Sammy's ex-husband, Josh Lucas, which gives it more effect as these lives feel devastatingly real. The bonds that everybody in the town share feels realistic as we see clerks in the local stores exchange looks at the sight of Terry back in town and there is the awareness throughout the film that everyone in town is watching over them. There is also the sense that this community is forgiving of their mistakes because they understand the hurt and trauma that these people have gone through. These touches were special as even the briefest shot of the sympathetic face of a local woman conveys all that we need to understand and has the impact on us that it does on our two main characters.

Ruffalo is also deserving of praise as he is perfectly churlish and callow in his role, he fits the archetype of traumatized young boy who has become an overprotected man. The scenes between himself and Linney, aided by Lonergan's beautifully written dialogue, allow them to talk around issues, as people often do in real life, while lobbing insults back and forth between them. They managed to build what felt like a lifelong relationship with a few looks and some introductory dialogue, the signs of great actors, which fit the tone of the rest of the film as whole childhoods are imparted with subtle but piercing looks.

This is one of the greatest films of the 2000s and should have been the Best Picture winner in 2000 in my opinion. That is why you should obviously go out and watch this as soon as possible while letting it quickly become one of your favorite films. Linney and Ruffalo are marvelous and Lonergan displays his immense directorial and screenwriting abilities in his directing debut as he began a fantastic career that would be followed by the equally great Margaret (2011) and Manchester by the Sea (2016).
July 14, 2018
A beautifully touching portrayal of the complex relationship between two siblings.
March 26, 2018
I confess, I am pretty dumb and took me too long to connect the first scene with the rest of the movie. Eventually I found out and with that out of the way I could dedicate myself to the film: lovely! Just like it's title, and it's characters can be described with few words. It's gentle, fragile and honest. Was a really good watch, and I Ruffalo really nails it.
January 29, 2018
Simply a great, heart-warming movie.
½ October 8, 2017
Laura Linney is good at playing roles like this. Great story by Kenneth Lonergan.
Super Reviewer
½ July 8, 2017
More complex and subtle than the title suggests. Lonergan never cheats or toys with his audience's emotions, every moment is earned.
½ July 6, 2017
Transcending cliché family drama with raw emotion and powerful performances, "You Can Count On Me" hits you right in the heart.
June 18, 2017
It's rare to get a good movie about the touchy adult relationship of a sister and brother. Rarer still for the director to be more fascinated by the process than the outcome. This is one of the best movies of 2000.
May 12, 2017
If Kenneth Lonergan were only a good director, I would still take away his finesse for economy. He seems to tell as little as he expects the audience needs to understand the characters' circumstances, emotions, and priorities. A challenge is appreciated. If Kenneth Lonergan were only a good screenwriter, I would still take away his craft for bringing natural lightness to situations, no matter how tough it gets for the characters at hand. In the case of You Can Count on Me, we get both strengths, plus an affecting relationship between two siblings, Sammy (Laura Linney) and Terry (Mark Ruffalo). Mature adult relationships between siblings is much rarer in cinema than I had realized, before watching this. I empathized greatly with both Sammy and Terry, who have very different views on family values and their relationship with the small town in which they grew up. Terry's current circumstances are much more mysterious than Sammy's, though, regardless of Lonergan's intentions, I was far more interested in what Sammy had been going through. I mean, Sammy had both a potential engagement with someone (Jon Tenney) and an affair with her boss (Matthew Broderick). Terry's freespiritedness was surely empathetic, much credit to Ruffalo for that, but there was little revealed of what he was actually doing. That is likely in Lonergan's intentions. Terry's behaviour may be his own way of dealing with his parents' freak accident death (first scene); it's not even that relevant to the core of the film -- how the characters move forward. No one acts hurtfully or spitefully, in response to a retrospective action. Everyone may do some coarse things in a moment, but they have a desire to hug it out, before it is too late.
April 3, 2017
Very interesting story - the image we want to project vs who we really are. Mark Ruffalo very good.
½ March 3, 2017
Strong performances and characters make for an absorbing drama film. its a bit ambiguous, which is normal for Kenneth Lonergan films. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
½ February 20, 2017
It feels like a spiritual prequel to Manchester by the Sea in every way possible. Though it drags at times, Lonergan's artful dialogue and directing will hold the audience till the end.
½ January 31, 2017
A strong movie about human relationships, about how the death of both their parents affected the life of the brother and sister. Warm and at the same time uncompromising movie.
½ January 25, 2017
Good times in Massachusetts.
December 22, 2016
So seldom do films like this rise above their melodrama to reveal humanity, but Lonergan has written the right words for the right actors and this entire piece feels true.
November 11, 2016
I found this movie very weak. It kept my attention and I cared about the characters but it was very disjointed. The music did not fit the scenes and was way too loud. What I did enjoy was watching a 16 year old movie to see a plot without cell phones ,caller I.D, and a much younger Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo , Matthew Broderick and Rory Culkin.
August 6, 2016
Great movie. Well done in every way. Ruffalo shines, a must see.
½ July 25, 2016
Brilliantly acted simple but profound story about family relationships - both lead actors are compelling to watch.
June 3, 2016
Easily one of the best films of the last twenty years. What raises You Can Count on Me above almost every other character-driven film of its kind are the quietly beautiful performances of Linney and Ruffalo. The genuine affection the characters have for one another is so expertly played out with humor, pathos,
and anger that you don't want the movie to end. Kenneth Lonergan has crafted a masterpiece of emotional impact and resonance on par with the likes of Five
Easy Pieces and Ordinary People.
May 30, 2016
Simple and honest, Ken Lonergan delivers a sensitive, warm and touching film about the relationship between two siblings as they try to find their place in the world and deal with responsabilities - succeeding largely thanks to empathetic performances from Mark Ruffalo and Laura Linney.
Page 1 of 35