You Can Count on Me (2000)

R  |   |  Drama  |  22 December 2000 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 21,366 users   Metascore: 85/100
Reviews: 230 user | 122 critic | 31 from

A single mother's life is thrown into turmoil after her struggling, rarely-seen younger brother returns to town.


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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 30 wins & 40 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rachel Louise Prescott
Peter Kerwin ...
Lisa Altomare ...


Adult siblings Sammy Prescott and Terry Prescott have had a special bond with each other since they were kids when their parents were tragically killed in a car accident. That bond is why single mom Sammy, who still lives in the family home in Scottsville, upstate New York with her eight year old son Rudy, is excited to hear that Terry, who she has not seen or heard from in a while, is coming home for a visit. That excitement is dampened slightly upon Terry's arrival, when she learns that he, broke, is only there to borrow money. As adults, Sammy, who works as a lending officer in the local bank, is seen as the responsible sibling, while unfocused Terry is seen as the irresponsible drifter. Regardless, Sammy welcomes what ends up being Terry's longer than planned visit if only so that he can help take care of Rudy, who has no adult male figure in his life. Rudy has never known his deadbeat biological father, with whom Sammy wants nothing to do. As Terry - acting as the supposed adult ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some drug use and a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 December 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Puedes contar conmigo  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$118,170 (USA) (10 November 2000)


$9,180,275 (USA) (8 June 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Kenneth Lonergan - a first time director - had protection from studio interference by his executive producer and friend, Martin Scorsese. They had met when Scorsese's then girlfriend Illeana Douglas had auditioned for one of Lonergan's plays. See more »


The pancakes on the son's dish skip around from side to side in each shot as he and his mom are talking. See more »


Rudy: Who are you talking about?
Terry: Some wild kids we used to know.
Rudy: Were you a wild kid?
Terry: Not as wild as your mom.
Rudy: Yeah, right...
Terry: Oh, you don't believe me?
Rudy: No.
Terry: Ask her.
Rudy: Mom, were you?
Sammy: [long pause] No comment.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Jeffrey Sharp would like to dedicate his work on this film to his mother, Virginia Sharp Albright, with love and admiration. See more »


Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.15 (2011) See more »


Long Way To Go
Written and Performed by Sue Foley
Published by Mechanicsville Music (ASCAP)
Administered by Bug Music, Inc.
Courtesy of Shanachie Records
See more »

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User Reviews

To Settle Or To Roam
15 April 2006 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

A sister and her brother, both grown, see the world in ways that are significantly different. The divorced sister and her young son live in the small town she grew up in. These are her roots. Nothing exciting happens here, but her routine life offers security and stability. One day her brother comes to visit her. The brother is something of a wanderer, moving around from place to place, unmarried, unsettled, looking for adventure. His visit sets up a clash between him and his sister and their different life styles: one sedentary, the other nomadic. In the absence of other siblings, and with both parents dead, each counts on the other to provide familial support.

It's the kind of film a lot of viewers can identify with, because most of what happens in the film is very ordinary: babysitting, plumbing hassles, time sheets, an annoying white-collar boss ... the stuff of everyday life. The emphasis is on contemporary realism.

Both Laura Linney (as the sister) and Mark Ruffalo (as the brother) were well cast for their roles. Both do a fine job of acting. The film's dialogue is realistic and believable. The country/western music is nice, but a little surprising, given that the story takes place in upstate New York.

If there is a downside to the film it is that it gets off to a slow start. Also, the story comes across at times like a soap opera.

Since the brother and sister have no other adult family, the film's theme is the same as its title: "You Can Count On Me". The story tugs at your heartstrings, especially with that poignant ending.

Because of its relevant, contemporary premise, its character development, and the high quality in direction, cinematography, editing, casting, acting, and production design, this is a film that most viewers probably will find satisfying.

11 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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