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You Can Count On Me

You Can Count On Me

4.0 3
Director: Kenneth Lonergan

Cast: Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Rory Culkin


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Kenneth Lonergan, the co-screenwriter for Analyze This (1999), makes his directorial debut with this sensitive portrait of a pair of grown siblings. Sammy and Terry Prescott (Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo) were orphaned as children after their parents were killed in a car accident. Since then, the two have taken drastically divergent paths. Sammy is a single


Kenneth Lonergan, the co-screenwriter for Analyze This (1999), makes his directorial debut with this sensitive portrait of a pair of grown siblings. Sammy and Terry Prescott (Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo) were orphaned as children after their parents were killed in a car accident. Since then, the two have taken drastically divergent paths. Sammy is a single mother who leads a quiet, stable life in a small town in upstate New York. A fiercely protective mother, she shields her young son Rudy (Rory Culkin) from all information about his absentee father. She is also involved with Bob (Jon Tenney), a well-meaning but less-than-exciting mate, both in and out of bed. Terry, by contrast, is a troubled, self-destructive soul eking out a nomadic existence. When he abandons his pregnant girlfriend to borrow money from his sister, Sammy finds her stable world disrupted. A bond soon develops between Terry and Rudy; over the objections of his mother, Terry takes the tyke fishing and shares old family secrets. Meanwhile, Terry's presence inspires Sammy to break out of her quiet life. This film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Eddy Crouse
In an era when family dramas often feel canned or recycled, You Can Count on Me is a breath of fresh air. Set in a small town in upstate New York, playwright Kenneth Lonergan's film debut is a lithe, generous take on various traumas of the familial, romantic, sexual, and communicative sort. Beginning with a short prologue showing a husband and wife crashing into an oncoming semi, the movie shuttles forward immediately into the present-day lives of Sammy and Terry, the two children orphaned by the collision. Big sister Sammy (Laura Linney), now a single mother, still lives in the family home that she and Terry (Mark Ruffalo) inherited, working in a bank, going to church regularly and raising her son, Rudy (Rory Culkin), as well as she can. Terry, now a twentysomething drifter, blows back into town, initially to borrow money, but then decides to stay for a while to hang out with his nephew and help fix up the house. All the actors turn in superb performances, particularly Linney, who received an Oscar nomination for her moving portrayal of the conflicted, immensely likable Sammy. The characters are well served by Lonergan's script, which sympathetically excavates rationalizations without making judgments on their shortcomings. By zeroing in on their small, but intense interactions -- Sammy's clashes with her stiff boss (Matthew Broderick in corporate-zombie mode), Sammy's ongoing harangue of Terry to find a purpose in life, Rudy's negativity and blind faith in his missing father -- Lonergan proves himself a smart, plaintive writer and a director of tremendous depth. Quiet and unassuming, You Can Count on Me has an emotional power that resonates long after the movie is over.
All Movie Guide - Jason Clark
One of the greatest strengths of Kenneth Lonergan's gentle, affecting tale of a pair of reunited siblings is its desire to rekindle the joy of hearing sensible characters simply talking to one another. The film never missteps in telling its identifiable yet unconventional tale, and Lonergan (in his first directorial effort) makes every motion warm and fully realized. Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo imbue their roles with heartfelt truth and realistic impulses, grounding the film and relating its important familial themes to just about any audience. You Can Count on Me is reminiscent of what independent cinema used to resemble in the salad days of the 1960s and '70s, with its small-scale but concise storytelling and quality performances. The film was a big hit at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, sharing the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature with Karyn Kusama's Girlfight) .
Boston Globe - Jay Carr
Satisfying in every respect, it's a piece of blue-collar chamber music, never treating the characters cheaply, allowing them a complex entwinement of emotions.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Paramount Catalog
Region Code:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by director Kenneth Logan; Exclusive cast and crew interviews; Original theatrical trailer

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Laura Linney Sammy Prescott
Mark Ruffalo Terry Prescott
Rory Culkin Rudy
Matthew Broderick Brian
Jon Tenney Bob
J. Smith-Cameron Mabel
Kenneth Lonergan Priest

Technical Credits
Kenneth Lonergan Director,Screenwriter
Lesley Barber Score Composer
Stephen Carlis Executive Producer
Donald C. Carter Executive Producer
Barbara de Fina Producer
John Hart Producer
Stephen Kazmierski Cinematographer
Anne McCabe Editor
Larry Meistrich Producer
Martin Scorsese Executive Producer
Jeff Sharp Producer
Michael Shaw Production Designer
Morton Swinsky Executive Producer
Melissa Toth Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- You Can Count On Me
1. Chapter 1
2. Chapter 2
3. Chapter 3
4. Chapter 4
5. Chapter 5
6. Chapter 6
7. Chapter 7
8. Chapter 8
9. Chapter 9
10. Chapter 10
11. Chapter 11
12. Chapter 12
13. Chapter 13
14. Chapter 14
15. Chapter 15
16. Chapter 16
17. Chapter 17
18. Chapter 18
19. Chapter 19


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You Can Count On Me 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo are excellent as sister and brother who, after losing their parents in a tragic accident, can always count on each other. Kenneth Lonergan directs his own screenplay as the siblings are now adults leading totally different lives. Linney is a single mother living in the same house in the same town and attempting to juggle her 8 year-old son, her job and the household chores, while trying to find time for personal relationships. Ruffalo is a drifter without any purpose in life who is basically just trying to get by with whatever it takes. Despite all their faults, their redeeming qualities come shining through as they always have each other for support. You will laugh and you will cry as the subject is one we can all relate to. A powerful and emotional movie that is not stereotypical, but honest and refreshing. This movie is destined to become a family drama classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great movie that closely examines not only sibling relationships, but a number of interpersonal relationships as well. Sometimes the things we do have an effect on others whether intended or not, and those dynamics are explored in this well-written, intensely emotional story. Sammy (Laura Linney) is the seemingly conservative, good sister with a wild side; Terry (Mark Ruffalo) is the drifter-type, not-so-good brother with a good heart who means well. Early in the movie, I did not like Terry...thought he was a loser, bad-news type of a guy who would only bring his sister, Sammy, down. But as his character develops, he is a likeable guy that you wind up feeling sorry for, even though his misfortunes are of his own creation. This movie, although ''quiet and unassuming,'' has a sobering effect that will cause viewers to take a closer look at their own relationships. If you only watch one critically acclaimed movie this year, this is the one.''
Anonymous More than 1 year ago