"You Can Count On Me" (2002) is a tender and strikingly endearing drama starring Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo as Sammy and Terry, siblings reunited after several years of undue separation. Sharing a lifelong grief over their parents' tragic deaths when they were children, the two maintain a fervent bond despite the dramatic disparity in their individual lifestyles.
Divorced and residing in the family home in upstate New York with her young son Rudy (Rory Culkin), Sammy is elated to receive word of Terry's impending visit—a detour from his wayward life of struggling hand-to-mouth on the fringes of society. The ensuing storyline captures their reunion and its varying degrees of humanistic drama touched nicely with shades of levity, as Terry bonds with his nephew Rudy and unwittingly challenges Sammy's sense of parental control. Sammy simultaneously struggles at work with new supervisor Brian (Matthew Broderick), leading to highly unexpected complications, as both brother and sister are ultimately forced to face the harsh realities of unheralded adulthood.
Written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan ("Margaret", "Manchester by the Sea"), "You Can Count On Me" is a highly moving and often wryly amusing depiction of familial relations beset by a legacy of tragedy. Both Linney and Ruffalo bring sparkling energy and deeply-felt pathos to their roles, helping to deliver a wonderfully unique tale of lifelong camaraderie to the screen. A lesser known sleeper upon initial release, it is now heralded as one of the finest films of the early 21st Century altogether.
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