You Can Count On Me


Top 20% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2000 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, Jon Tenney, Rory Culkin

Non-Cast Credits

Kenneth Lonergan, John Hart, Jeff Sharp, Larry Meistrich, Barbara De Fina, Martin Scorsese, Steve Carlis, Don Carter, Morton Swinsky, Stephen Kazmierski, Anne McCabe, Michael Shaw, Lesley Barber


Two siblings, orphaned at an early age, have grown apart as adults. Sammy (Lara Linney), the older of the two, has stayed in the small town of their childhood. A single mother, she works in the local bank and leads a steadfast moral life with her young son. Terry (Mark Ruffalo), her younger brother whom she helped raise, has become a self-destructive roamer with a taste for the wilder side of life.

When Terry comes for a visit, his mere presence begins to crack the veneer of Sammy's well-ordered existence. Each is uneasy with the person the other one has become; the one tangible thing that keeps them together is the family home left to them by their parents. It also becomes the meeting place of their hearts and minds as they struggle to reconcile their conflicting lives with the love that binds them together.

Kenneth Loneran, a wise, observant writer, proves subtle and insightful as a director. The performances he extracts are exceptional. Linny is luminous as Sammy, delighted and shocked as she begins an affair with her married boss (a persnickety Matthew Broderick). Ruffalow is raw and reactive, firmly resisting the temptation to slip into the warmth and quotidian life of her sister's home. These characters, defined by what they do that is out of character, are fully realized and never cloying. In You Can Count on Me, Lonergan has created a work which explores the emotional landscape of commitment and love, family and home, pleasure and responsibility.


John Cooper (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.