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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
Originally written as a one-act (which manifests itself as the eventual meeting of Terry and Sammy in the restaurant) by stage veteran Kenneth Lonergan, 'You Can Count on Me' is an amazingly realistic look at the filial dynamic and relationships that come from the breaking and separation of family.
Split from their parents at an early age, Sammy and Terry, the older and younger, respectively, are forced to rely on one another throughout their youths until Terry vanishes, travelling across the nation for a long time.
When he finally returns, Terry finds that Sammy has built a somewhat stable life for herself in their beautifully provincial Appalachian hometown with her single-mom life and her adorable son, Rudy.
'You Can Count on Me' boasts honest, believable dialogue and acting in like kind. Laura Linney's performance as the somewhat-restrained Sammy is easily her best, and Mark Ruffalo's as Terry is also highly evolved. The beauty of this film is that there are literally hundreds of places for the plot or action to derail and become an emotional sap-fest ripe with over-dramatic exclamations, but it stays right on track, always honest, brutal, and, ultimately, endearing.
Lonergan has hit a kind of gold mine here. Fans of his hugely successful 'This Is Our Youth' will recognize his work here, as 'You Can Count on Me' is obviously kith and kin to it.
Do not expect breath-taking special effects. Do not expect dramatic exlcamations or exposition. Do not expect the typical or mundane. This film is extraordinarily truthful in its telling of the boundaries we build for ourselves and the ones we love.
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