Best of
lMovie Review
"You Can Count On Me"
By Mira Harber
    You Can Count on Me won the Best Film and Best Screenplay at this year's Sundance Film Festival. It is the story of a brother and sister who were orphaned when very young and now, almost twenty years later, the errant brother comes home to visit his sister and meet his young nephew.
     The brother Terry (Mark Ruffalo) is a charming, mixed-up, unreliable drifter. His dependable sister Sammy (Laura Linney) is a single mom who works at the bank, half-heartedly dates one of the few eligible single men in town, and despises her new 'strictly by the rules' boss (Matthew Broderick).
     Sammy lives in the home they grew up in with her young son Rudy (Rory Culkin). At first Rudy is suspicious of his uncle, but as his uncle does guy stuff with him, going fishing, playing pool at the local bar etc., he comes to love his uncle. Rudy knows nothing of his dad, and his uncle fills a great void in his life.
     The new bank manager is 'the worst we've ever had' - he has no people skills and is tough instead of empathetic. He expects the bank employees to use screensavers that are a respectable, subdued color - no neons, no brights, this is a bank!  He is a stickler for rules, except when they apply to him. He embarks on affair while with Sammy his wife is six months pregnant.
     Kenneth Lonnergan, the writer-director of You Can Count on Me shows us complex characters that make mistakes, mean well, and stumble ahead while they try to make a better life. This isn't a formulaic picture - life is complicated, and the twists and turns can be hard to navigate.  Sometimes it is hard to see which is the best way to act. After Sammy sleeps with her married boss, she goes to her priest (Lonnergan) and asks what the church's official opinion is on fornication and adultery. His response is not what she expects - "Well", he says, very hesitantly, "it is a sin, but " 
     Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo are spontaneous and are very realistic as brother and sister. Their relationship is so delicate, yet forged by such strong bonds, that it can never be broken.
I thought this movie was one of the year's best - subtle and heart- wrenching, but not manipulative. Watch for Laura Linney as a possible candidate for Best Actress at this year's Oscars and You Can Count on Me as one of the candidates for Best Film.


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