"Lonely & Confused"
What You Need To Know:
Sammy continually tries to help her brother find himself, but YOU CAN COUNT ON ME ends on a lonely humanistic note and its confused characters behave in strongly anti-biblical ways at times. Thus, Sammy is a churchgoer and tries to get Terry interested in God, yet she commits adultery. A dour, ineffectual priest who tries to help Sammy and Terry just adds to this feeling of angst
(HH, AbAb, C, B, LLL, V, SS, NN, AA, DD, MM) Humanist worldview with portraits of an ineffectual, dour priest with no passion for his work & a confused member of his church who commits adultery but who really tries to help her lost, but sometimes endearing, brother, an atheist who has trouble settling down; at least 34 obscenities, 4 strong profanities & 3 mild profanities; slight violence including man fights his nephew’s irresponsible father & man gets a phone call about a suicide; depicted adulterous sex & implied fornication; brief partial nudity; alcohol use & man takes young nephew to local bar, where they win a pool game; smoking & marijuana use; and, gambling, lying, office blackmail, & movie tries too hard to avoid a more positive, more spiritual ending, perhaps out of irrational, postmodern fear & loathing of having anyone call his movie uplifting, sentimental or spiritual.
YOU CAN COUNT ON ME is a confused but sometimes entertaining and engrossing drama about the relationship between a confused member of an Episcopal church in upper state New York and her lost, wanderlusting atheist brother.
Orphaned in childhood, Samantha is a single mother who works as a manager at a local bank in Scottsville. Her younger brother, Terry, is a drifter who comes to visit Sammy in the house their parents left them. Sammy starts an affair with her new boss, whose wife is pregnant. Terry develops a growing relationship with his sister’s 8-year-old son, Rudy. This brings out the endearing qualities in Terry, but Terry decides to introduce Rudy to the father who abandoned him and his mother. The meeting is disastrous and threatens to tear Sammy and Terry apart forever.
Despite its final humanistic loneliness and its confused characters who behave in strongly anti-biblical ways, YOU CAN COUNT ON ME is not as loathsome as other movies containing such things. For instance, Sammy continually tries to help her brother find himself, and the relationship between Rudy and Terry is touching.
Still, the direction in this movie seems confused, as if the filmmakers haven’t fully developed the characters and their situations. This is especially true of Sammy’s character (wonderfully played by Laura Linney, however). Thus, Sammy is a churchgoer and tries to get Terry interested in God, yet she commits adultery. Also, the story ends on an anti-climactic note, as if writer/director Kenneth Lonergan suffers from an irrational, postmodern fear and loathing of having anyone call his movie uplifting, sentimental or spiritual. A dour, ineffectual priest who tries to help Sammy and Terry just adds to this feeling.
Therefore, although you can count of Jesus Christ, you can’t count on YOU CAN COUNT ON ME.