The title You Can Count On Me is a cruel jest. A brother & sister (Mark Ruffalo & Laura Linney) take turns being assinine in this very convincing portrait of siblings whose great disdain for one another is outweighed only by their great love. The main thing they can count on from each other is distress, trouble, anger, accusation.
For this reason, they cannot even live in the same city, which seems okay by the brother, who is not the settled-down type. When he does ride into town, both of them dream of an ideal reunion. Alas, dysfunction is the rule of the day, & since they never really come to terms with anything in their lives, by the time the film ends it feels mainly like we've watched dumbasses who can't learn even a little from their own mistakes.
It seems pretty clear that if the brother ever visits again, things will go just as badly. The two of them in trying to hurt each other really only hurts the fatherless boy in the tale (Rory Culkin). Even for the sake of the emotionally injured boy, the siblings just cannot grow up & have mature relationships with one another.
The two leads turn in stunning performances creating crummy mixed up people who are all too real. And I must say that in a film industry that prefers either violence & action, or sentimental twaddle, but avoids stories that revolve around authentic human emotion, it is great to see something entirely character-driven that can be this complex & unsentimental.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl