You Can Count on Me
Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”
Laura Linney may not have much acting range beyond the perpetually annoyed authority figure, but she's damn good at it. She was deservingly nominated for an Oscar for her strong work in this film, playing a mother and sister trying her best to raise the men in her life without losing herself in the process. Ken Lonergan's one-act play grew into this feature drama about a pair of grown-up orphans; losing their parents turned the girl into a rigid Christian planning every step of her life and the boy into an unaccountable heathen who lives in the moment. Reuniting as adults, they rub off on each other in surprising ways, turning the film into a rare rumination on sibling relationships and responsibility. But I'm making it sound dull; the film has a snarky wit and is cheerfully unpredictable. Especially good is Lonergan's well-crafted dialogue, which gives each character a distinct voice and makes you realize how deeply they believe what they say. This is a film to listen to, smile at, think about, and be grateful for.