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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, July 31, 2014 - Edition No 908 

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YOU CAN COUNT ON ME: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Sammy (Laura Linney) and Terry Prescott (Mark Ruffalo) are brother and sister whose parents died in car crash long ago. Now in their mid thirties, Sammy, a single mom to eight-year-old Rudy (Rory Culkin), goes to church, works at the local bank, and dates Bob (Jon Tenney) - possibly the most boring man in the world. Terry has drifted between states, working odd jobs and generally getting in trouble. The siblings haven't spoken in a long time, and when Terry re-appears in their hometown to ask sis for a loan, both are affected by each other's presence. Terry bonds with the fatherless Rudy, and shows signs of straightening up. Sammy, on the other hand, delves into a fling with her boss (Matthew Broderick) and begins doubting her attraction to Bob. It's Terry's well intentioned visist to Rudy's long lost father that brings everything to a head.

Review by Louise Keller:
It is such a pleasure to enjoy the spoils of an artist at work, and Kenneth Lonergan's feature debut You Can Count On Me gives us ample opportunity to appreciate his screenplay and understated, insightful approach. The story appears simple enough, but the rich complexity achieved by wonderfully complete characters and performances makes us realise that here is a story that has much more to offer than initially meets the eye.

It's funny, sad, poignant, compelling and above all honest. The characters are very true and we instinctively know these people who are brought splendidly to life by a flawless cast. We easily connect to their world; they may live in a small town, but their problems and challenges are anything but small. Laura Linney is wonderful as Sammy, the conscientious mum whose life is black and white, while Mark Ruffalo injects plenty of grit into Terry, the total antithesis of Sammy. Reminding me somewhat of a young Peter Falk, Terry with his shock of ruffled hair, constantly (and endearingly) looks as though he has just woken up. He is lost, at first not particularly likeable - until we get to know him and understand him. At the beginning of the film, Sammy and Terry seem to be worlds apart - she the model citizen, he the black sheep - but by the journey's end, their hues and differences are far fewer than we imagined.

The development of the relationships are beautifully captured - between each of Terry, Sammy, her son Rudy (Rory Culkin, adorable) and her grumpy, inflexible boss Brian (Matthew Broderick zings), and beau Bob, whose honesty and gaucheness sneaks up on us. Culkin (is there no end to the talents from this family?) gives a standout performance: he behaves very naturally, just like a regular kid as opposed to a Hollywood representation of what a kid should be like. The words of the title are never spoken, but there is a moving moment when we know it applies.

You Can Count On Me is a gentle and beautiful film with real characters, a sublime script and enough emotional triggers to make you feel. Director Kenneth Lonergan offers an audio commentary on the DVD, plus there are interviews and the theatrical trailer.

Published March 1, 2007



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CRITICAL COUNT
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Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

YOU CAN COUNT ON ME: DVD (M15+)
(US, 2001)

CAST: Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, Jon Tenney

PRODUCER: John N. Hart, Jeffrey Sharp, Larry Meistrich, Barbara De Fina

DIRECTOR: Kenneth Lonergan

SCRIPT: Kenneth Lonergan

RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 5, 2001

PRESENTATION: Widescreen; English, French Audio: Dolby Digital 5.0, Surround Subtitles: English, Dutch, French Commentary English, French Aspect: 1.85:1

SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary by Kenneth Lonergan, "A Look Inside" Interviews & Theatrical Trailer

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

DVD RELEASE: February 8, 2007







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