You Can Count on Me (VHS, 2002, Special Edition - Spanish Subtitled)

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A Great Character-Driven Film

Feb 19, 2001
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Well-rounded, realistic characters. When the movie ends, you're sad to see it go.

Cons:Technical problems

The Bottom Line: Well worth seeing!! Great script by Lonergan and great performances by Linney, Ruffalo, and Broderick! You don't need to see it in the theatre, but you should!


I finally got around to seeing this movie because of all the hype it has received recently. Laura Linney is being touted as giving us the best acting performance of the year and the film itself is being called one of the best pictures of the year. After seeing "You Can Count On Me" all I can say is that all the hype is partially true.

THE RUNDOWN

The movie begins years earlier with a car crash and death of two people who we find out to be Sammy and Terry's parents. (Note: this is not a plot spoiler it happens and is revealed before the opening credits.)

Sammy (Laura Linney) is a single mom who lives in upstate New York with her son Rudy (Rory Culkin). They live in a small town where she works as a loan officer at the local bank. One day she receives a letter from her wandering brother Terry (Mark Ruffalo) who says he is coming to town to visit her.

When Terry gets to town, it turns out his life is on the skids again and he needs some support, initially financial but ultimately emotional, from Sammy.

Sammy's life goes into upset with the re-introduction of her brother into her life. Her new boss at the bank (Matthew Broderick) can't stop giving her a hard time, her old boyfriend shows back up in her life, and her son needs some male guidance in his life.

Sammy and Terry desperately need support from each other that they are unable to get from anyone else. The death of their parents has made them both self-destructive individuals but in different ways and only they understand what each other is going through.

WHAT THIS SLIM PLOT SUMMARY ALL MEANS

Sorry for the vague plot summary, but I believe that if you wanted the whole story you would see the movie. If too much info is given on my part, it will ruin the movie going experience for you.

That said...

"You Can Count On Me" is essentially a story of a self-destructive pair of siblings trying their best to come to terms with the hand they've been dealt in life. Not to say that this is one of those typical stories of self-destruction where people get murdered, kill themselves with drugs or weapons, etc. The self-destruction depicted in this movie is of a more realistic, every-day type. Don't get me wrong, this movie isn't a total downer at all.

This film is populated with wonderfully written characters that jump off the screen. If you're looking for two dimensional characters this is not the movie for you. These characters are so well formed that you feel with them, not for them.

Laura Linney gives a fine performance, probably the finest in her career, but it is nothing brilliant. The best performances in the picture come from Mark Ruffalo and Matthew Broderick. Ruffalo gives a wonderful performance and the screw-up brother with a tortured soul. He outshines Linney in my opinion and should have been the one to get the Oscar nomination. Matthew Broderick delivers a hilariously real performance as the new branch manager of the bank. In this film and 1999's "Election" Broderick has once again proven what a great comic actor he is.

TECHNICAL MUMBO JUMBO

A few things about this film did bother me if I may be picky for a minute or two.

The Soundtrack - Although the music in the picture was quite good (this has been a good year for soundtracks), I was often overpowering in a bad way. The background music would at times blare over the dialogue, taking away from the scene rather than accentuating it. Also, the mood of the music set a tone in certain scenes that seemed out of place.

Never leave a boom in the shot - During one important scene, the boom mike came clear into the shot from the top of the screen. It was hard to miss, so I'm not quite sure why the editor decided to leave it in. Maybe they didn't have enough money to re-shoot. Either way it took me out of the film in a bad way!

WHAT SHOULD BE NOMINATED

Mark Ruffalo - Best Actor
Ken Lonergan - Best Screenplay


Recommend this product? Yes


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