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You Can Count on Me
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You Can Count on Me More at IMDbPro »

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77 out of 89 people found the following review useful:

A breath of fresh air

10/10
Author: almaier from Canada
26 January 2001

It's like a breath of fresh air to see a drama driven by characters rather than by a typical Hollywood plot. If this were any other drama, someone would get cancer, the little boy would go missing, the stars would look like supermodels, and the characters would talk with a screenwriter's emotional phrase. Here, the characters think, act and talk like real people. They could be us. That's the genius of this movie. If you want fantasy, don't see this film. If you want to be touched by great acting and a wonderful plot that shows the complexities of human relationship, see this film. This isn't Terms of Endearment, Steel Magnolias or One True Thing. This is real.

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56 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

A Beautiful Film

10/10
Author: Kyle (normanthepig@graffiti.net) from Chicago
17 February 2004

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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52 out of 59 people found the following review useful:

See this film.

Author: Jexxon from Norberg, Sweden
21 August 2004

I almost didn't know anything about this film, but when it came out on DVD, a lot of critics recommended it, so I checked it out. And - wow! A real little gem of a movie that perfectly blends drama and comedy.

The story may be slight (to say the least), it's basically just a couple of days in the life of a sister and her brother, and the people around them in a small town. No real beginning, and no real end, but a fantastic, original script, and some really great acting. Mark Ruffalo and Laura Linney (she gives one of the best performances I've ever seen on film) are both extremely likable despite their characters' flaws, and it fun to see Matthew Broderick in a different kind of role for him.

A film about ordinary people, living ordinary lives, all done in a near flawless way. Great script, direction, and acting - that's something you don't see every day, so make sure you see this one.

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33 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Acting par excellence

10/10
Author: smakawhat from Washington, DC
12 April 2001

This movie centres on a brother and sister. Samantha lives in a small town going through the routine of life, when suddenly she finds out her brother Terry is coming to visit again after a long absence. However, we soon find out from these 2, that not everything in their lives are perfect.

This movie has the most engaging characters I have ever seen. The two actors, Laura Linney and Marc Ruffalo, I could have just sat and listened to them all day talking about their lives. It is that good. Marc Ruffalo has this charisma and screen presence and makes his character come alive like no other person I have seen on film 'ever'. These people are so real in this film it is unbelievable.

The movie is charming, witty, heartwarming, unpredictable, VERY funny, and so great. You leave the theatre wondering what well become of these 2 and their trials, and they seem like people you know. The great thing also is the film is not sappy, or has predictable plot holes, or a serious climax that you are waiting for to erupt. It just unfolds so perfectly.

Great film (must see)

10 out of 10

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36 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

You Don't Need a Crisis for a Great Movie

9/10
Author: gbheron from Washington, DC
12 January 2003

Not all stories need a crisis for the characters to resolve or an issue to press to be compelling. Some stories are just slices of our workaday worlds, packaged and presented in such a way as to entertain us. "You Can Count on Me" is one such story, and its cinematic telling results in one of the best movies of 2000.

The story's protagonists are two siblings, Sammy (Laura Linney), a divorced, single mom living the middle-class life in her small up-state New York hometown, and Terry, her foot-loose, presumed screw-up, brother. Apparently, he rarely visits, but when he does its because he wants something, usually money. "You Can Count on Me" recounts one such visit. That's about it plot-wise. But the movie looks deeper into their lives; Terry's impact on Sammy's 8-year old son, Sammy's relationship with her old boyfriend, and her new boss, Terry and Sammy and their differing expectations of one another.

I hope this doesn't sound boring, because it's not. The movie illustrates these lives and relationships without Freudian analysis or angst. Things are what they are, and it's a treat to share them.

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18 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

quite refreshing ...

9/10
Author: m_madhu from chennai, india
13 November 2001

you can count on me is a truly refreshing movie. the most enchanting aspect of the movie is its true to life characters and brilliant acting.

the characters are human, there are no angels here, no evil devils - just real people, with real failings and real weaknesses, real moments, real feelings, real warmth, real stupidity ... you can count on me is a simple story that is beautifully told. a romantic movie, a family movie, a warm movie about human relationships, the complexities and the tender moments in between.

this is an absolutely pleasant movie that has no corny moments, the background score is terrific, the acting is brilliant especially laura linney is quite extraordinary. there are many funny scenes in the movie, the movie is well-paced and the script well brought out, the dialogs are enjoyable. a truly fine movie.

absolutely recommended for people who are pretty bored of the big budget fake hollywood scripts, with their outwordly characters. this movie is close to the heart.

a refreshing 9!!

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A Rorschach Test of a Movie

Author: redoubtable from Hudson Valley, New York
8 July 2002

A quick glimpse at others' comments here confirms what I suspected when I finally caught this flick on video myself -- it is something of a Rorschach test for viewers. I notice that there are people who absolutely identify with Laura Linney's character, Sammy, and others who completely see the film from the point of view of Mark Ruffalo's character, Terry. I think this is a sign of a good film. I myself was prepared to dislike Terry because he seemed such an obvious mess, but the film allows him his own point of view that you come to respect. And I am not a religious person at all -- in fact, I have major issues with organized religion -- but I was impressed with the even-handed, sympathetic treatment of religion here, and also of small-town life -- both very rare in American movies. The cast is uniformly good -- in addition to everybody mentioned in others' comments here, I'd single out Jon Tenney as Sammy's well-meaning, on-again off-again boyfriend -- but Linney was simply phenomenal. See this, if only to see how *you* react to it.

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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

To Settle Or To Roam

8/10
Author: Lechuguilla from Dallas, Texas
15 April 2006

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.

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18 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

I really don't know where to begin.

Author: PDNickz from Los Angeles
8 August 2002



I don't. This is just one of Those Movies, y'know? Shot for shot it's great. The cinematography definitely knows what it's doing and it's VERY mindful of itself in such a way that we can ignore it if we're not paying attention to it. As such, the camera steps out of the way and we're free to absorb the story, as simple as it may be. Man... I honestly loved this movie. The acting was top-notch, the principles were great and everyone else was cast so perfectly that every second of the film just falls into place. Just go see it. Please. Mark Ruffalo gives a fantastic performance as an Unfamous, Untalented Bob Dylan. The script is not heavy-handed. It's charming without being aware of itself. It's just a really really good film in the style of good films (re: The Sweet Hereafter) that's going the way of the dodo under the weight of these iconoclastic Hollywood heavy hitters (re: Shaymalan et al). Such a good film. So good.

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13 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

you can definitely count on this movie

8/10
Author: Lee Eisenberg (lee.eisenberg.pdx@gmail.com) from Portland, Oregon, USA
12 September 2006

In one of the many manifestations of the power of the indie flicks during the past ten years, rebellious young Terry Prescott (Mark Ruffalo) comes to visit his sister Samantha (Laura Linney) and her son Rudy (Rory Culkin), upsetting their normal lives. "You Can Count on Me" is very much a script- and character-driven movie, a far cry from a Hollywood cliché movie. As for the characters themselves, Samantha and Rudy are quite respectable; Terry is hard to classify, as he almost seems to be wasting his life but is the sort of rebel who we all wish to be; Matthew Broderick - as Samantha's boss - made my skin crawl, and I suspect that you'll feel the same.

All in all, this is certainly a movie that I recommend, and I'm eager to see Kenneth Lonergan's next movie.

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