Small town single mom Sammy is overjoyed when her beloved kid brother, troubled drifter Terry, returns home. But her carefully ordered life is upturned as Terrys influence affects her relationship with her sheltered child Rudy, triggers a passionate flin
Playwright Kenneth Lonergans fans and colleagues in New York made this film possible, from Martin Scorsese and Barbara De Fina playing godparents as executive producers, to Broderick graciously joining the movie while starring on Broadway. Their admiration of him is well-founded, with the film wowing last years Sundance Festival (where it scooped Grand Jury Prize and the screenwriting award).
Linney, absurdly underused since The Truman Show, and Ruffalo, now designated hot stuff, are so good inhabiting their roles as reliable sister Sammy and devil-may-care brother Terry, its easy to forget that a lot of wit, humanity and insight is in the script theyre working from. Indeed, the entire cast is perfectly real, including yet another cunning little Culkin (Rory, the youngest, as the smothered Rudy).
Seldom are brother-sister relationships really explored in film, and this one reverberates with truth and understanding. Orphaned in childhood, Sammy and Terry have a particularly strong bond, one which she jealously yanks and one which makes him chafe. These siblings are fierce and funny, wringing every nuance of love, affection, resentment, exasperation, humour, anger and acceptance out of their dynamic.
Lonergan himself (who scripted Analyse This) appears as Sammys minister, and although he has Im the writer-director taking a bow stamped all over him, hes given himself such a juicy dialogue with the scornful Terry that you allow him the moment.
Ruffalos endearing and charming well-meaning neer-do-well promises more good things from him, while Linneys eloquent physicality and subtly complete characterisation confirm her as one of the most intelligent and interesting actresses around.
Cinematically its no more remarkable than many a small, independent, character-driven American story. But wordsmith Lonergans people, prose and everyday situations are really engaging and he articulates with perception an individuals need to depend o