Stream-It Saturday: You Can Count on Me (Movie)

Stream-It Saturday: You Can Count on Me (Movie)

In my continuing selfless service to the world (ahem), I'm always looking for the next awesome thing to stream. And, of course, I must share my finds with you fabulous folks. Hence, Stream-It Saturday. 

This week's choice is one of my favorite movies, You Can Count on Me, released in 2000, starring Mark Ruffalo (Terry) and Laura Linney (Sammy) as estranged siblings reunited due to Sammy being broke once again. 

I'm not usually a fan of sibling stories, since I don't have any brothers or sisters and I find those relationships rather weird (sorry!), but You Can Count on Me is beautiful in its messiness. 

You Can Count on my epitomizes the quiet story. If you love that sort of thing (and I do), this movie will satisfy you in the best of ways--in some ways, it feels more like a book than a movie. There's little resolution, the dialogue is full of subtext and the characters feel familiar. 

As Terry and Sammy attempt to reconcile--they had a messed up childhood due to their parents dying in a car accident, which is the film's opening scene, we see Terry's simultaneously good and bad influence on Sammy's son and Sammy's efforts at fixing Terry while her own life is actually a mess.

I don't remember Mark Ruffalo being on my radar at all before I saw You Can Count on Me when it came out, but this movie instantly solidified me as a perennial fan. The way he plays Terry, who's simultaneously sympathetic and frustrating, really made this movie for me. It would have been easy to bee too precious this this character, softening his bad side and thus making this movie less special.

Similarly, Laura Linney's performance is pretty special. It's hard to put my finger on what it is that's so distinctive but I've seen this movie so many times and always marvel at the humanity she brings to Sammy's character. 

The brilliant Roger Ebert summed up why You Can Count on Me is so resonant more sharply than I ever could:

Beyond and beneath, that is the rich human story of “You Can Count on Me.” I love the way Lonergan shows his characters in flow, pressed this way and that by emotional tides and practical considerations. This is not a movie about people solving things. This is a movie about people living day to day with their plans, fears and desires. It’s rare to get a good movie about the touchy adult relationship of a sister and brother. Rarer still for the director to be more fascinated by the process than the outcome.
Roger Ebert

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