Can Count On Me"
|By Mira Harber
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,
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