You Can Count On Me

This beautifully acted, minutely observed story about a brother and sister whose lives have taken very different paths won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Prize at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival and shared the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize. Sammy Prescott (Laura Linney) and her brother Terry (Mark Ruffalo) were children when they were orphaned by a car accident....read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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This beautifully acted, minutely observed story about a brother and sister whose lives have taken very different paths won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Prize at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival and shared the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize. Sammy Prescott

(Laura Linney) and her brother Terry (Mark Ruffalo) were children when they were orphaned by a car accident. As adults, they've drifted into diametrically different lives, but remain linked by a powerful emotional bond. Sammy, the single mother of eight-year-old Rudy (Rory Culkin), has stayed in

the tiny, upstate New York town where she and Terry were born. She's had the same job for seven years, attends church regularly, and lives in her late parents' house. Terry, by contrast, has spent years drifting across the country, scraping by on odd jobs, and even doing some jail time. When Terry

comes to visit after a two-year absence, it's to borrow money; apparently he's left behind a pregnant, emotionally fragile girlfriend (Gaby Hoffmann). Yet Terry prolongs his stay and befriends the sheltered, cautious Rudy (whose feckless dad decamped years earlier). While Terry and Sammy

inevitably get on each other's nerves, in the end there's more holding them together than driving them apart. Unlike many successful mainstream screenwriters who claim they really want to make more personal films, Lonergan — whose credits include the Off-Broadway play This Is Our Youth

and the scripts for ANALYZE THIS and THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY & BULLWINKLE — actually did it. First-timer Lonergan is also an actor (he appears in the film as Father Ron, Sammy's priest), and his script offers leads Linney and Ruffalo the kind of dramatic opportunities for which most actors

would kill. Matthew Broderick also stands out in a supporting role as Sammy's new boss, a petty martinet with whom she has a brief affair.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: R
  • Review: This beautifully acted, minutely observed story about a brother and sister whose lives have taken very different paths won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Prize at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival and shared the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize. Sammy Prescott (Laur… (more)

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