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by Susan Royal

Matthew Broderick and Laura Linney in a scene from You Can Count On Me (Paramount Classics).
You Can Count On Me arrived in theaters after picking up a slew of prestigious awards on the film festival circuit. One of this year's best films, You Can Count On Me merits all the critical attention it's receiving. At this year's Sundance Film Festival, Kenneth Lonergan was honored both as the director of the film (with the Grand Jury Prize) and as the writer of the film (with the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award). The Montreal Film Festival gave its Best Actor prize to Mark Ruffalo, who stars in the film with Laura Linney. [Both Linney and Ruffalo turn in Oscar-worthy performances.] At the recent AFI Film Fest, You Can Count On Me picked up two more awards -- Best Film and Best New Writer. (In addition to a cash prize, the AFI Fest award comes with a year's supply of Krispy Kreme donuts!) The film was recently awarded Best First Feature at the London Film Festival.

This film is the directoral debut of Kenneth Lonergan, who has worked extensively as a playwright. In fact, You Can Count On Me grew out of a one-act play he wrote. Another of his plays, "This is Our Youth," was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best Play and was an off-Broadway hit. Last spring, the critically acclaimed "Waverly Gallery," which Lonergan based on his grandmother's Greenwich Village gallery, played off-Broadway. He's also written a number of screenplays, including Analyze This and Rocky and Bullwinkle, and is currently preparing for the February debut of his next play, "Lobby Hero" for Playwrights Horizon.

At the center of You Can Count On Me, is a tumultuous sibling relationship. Linney plays a single mom raising her 8-year-old son in a Rockwellian small town in upstate New York, when she's surprised by the arrival of her charming, drifter brother (played by Ruffalo). As their lifestyles collide, they both have to re-evaluate the choices they've made so far and take a hard look at where their lives are heading.

In addition to Linney and Ruffalo, You Can Count On Me stars Matthew Broderick, Rory Culkin, John Tenney, J. Smith-Cameron and Kenneth Lonergan. It's produced by John Hart, Larry Meistrich and Jeff Sharp; and executive produced by Martin Scorsese and Barbara De Fina.

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