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You Can Count on Me

Director: Kenneth Lonergan


With its intelligent script, superb performances and non-judgemental take on difficult issues of lifestyle and family relationships, Kenneth Lonergan’s admirable You Can Count on Me is precisely the kind of movie that Hollywood studios are no longer interested in making. There are echoes of Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces, that classic of 1970s American cinema about a middle-class drifter who is alienated from his family and bourgeois society at large. Unlike the rebel played by Jack Nicholson in Rafelson’s film, Lonergan’s outsider has been set adrift by a lack of family, which has led to a life of petty crime. Released from jail, Terry (Mark Ruffalo) makes his way to visit his sister Sammy (Laura Linney), a responsible single mother who works in a small-town bank in upstate New York. Terry’s disruptive presence causes Sammy to abandon playing by the rules of respectable society as she ditches her dull boyfriend and engages in a reckless affair with her boss (Matthrew Broderick). Lonergan observes his confused, imperfect characters with amused sympathy as they struggle to make sense of their lives. Linney and Ruffalo are particularly outstanding when it comes to capturing the special bond that exists between siblings and which comes to the surface at key moments to bridge all kinds of gaps in time, beliefs and experience.
U.S.A., 2000. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 109 mins.

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