Producers: Barbara De Fina, John Hart,
Jeff Sharp, Larry Meistrich
Written by: Kenneth Lonergan
Cast: Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo,
Matthew Broderick, Rory Culkin, Jon
(Ruffalo) is the kind of aimless lay-about
that we all know or have come into contact
with at some point in our lives. He's
a sweet guy with good intentions and no
direction. His actions are muddled, albeit
well-intentioned misfires but he occasionally
redeems himself through some moment of
kindness or by just being there to listen.
comes back into his sister Sammy's (Linney)
life at a moment when she needs someone
to listen. Sammy's present-only-when-called
boyfriend, Bob (Tenney), is good at taking
her to bed but can't come up with much
to say about anything else in her life.
Her new boss, Brian (Broderick), is the
kind of manager who listens to what a
training manual has to say a lot more
easily than he does to any of his employees.
Her son, Rudy (the newest Culkin to hit
the screens), is getting to the age where
he's beginning to wonder about his absent
father, despite Sammy's efforts to discourage
his curiosity. And her minister (a cameo
by writer/director Lonergan) meets her
with more questions than answers.
when Terry comes loping back to town to
bum more money off his sister for another
jam he's in, Sammy invites him to stay
for a while at the house they've co-owned
since being orphaned years before. What
follows is much of what one might expect,
but it's done with such panache and restraint
that there's no confusing this for a Lifetime
and Linney both give nuanced performances
that discover the many different levels
of Sammy and Terry through body language
and speech. The supporting cast is uniformly
solid and up to the task of supporting
the two centers of the film.
has crafted a great script and solidly
directed it in a manner that one wouldn't
have predicted possible after watching
either of his previously produced screenplays
(THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE
and ANALYZE THIS). He has managed, with
the help of a great cast, to make a film
that feels at once as familiar as an old
shoe and yet also surprises you with its
gentle insights about and sensitivities
to familial bonds. It's rare that a film
comes along that captures the story of
a brother and sister relationship so well.
Rarer still that a film makes you want
to know the characters beyond what happens
on the screen. This is a stunningly entertaining,
character-driven drama that will stand
up to repeat viewing. Take a friend, or
better yet, a sibling.
Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.
Itís worth a full-price ticket.
Itís worth a matinee ticket.
Wait for video rental.
Check out the video from the library, if you must.
While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...