You Can Count On Me Reviews
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).
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.