Kenneth Lonergan
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Kenneth Lonergan

You Can Count On My (2000) is a domestic drama set in a small Midwestern town that deals with young people's frustrations in a manner similar to Kimberly Peirce's Boys Don't Cry (although at a completely different dramatic level). Lonergan's characters are all unhappy and neurotic (they are all smokers), but they could never use violence or be the victims of violence, because they represent the American heartland.
Lonergan's style is spare and direct. Most scenes are barely sketched: once the emotional content has been delivered by the characters, the director turns to something else, shunning the details of the scene. Lonergan does not waste time, and does not indulge in, showing the details of a scene. We can guess what will happen, the words that will be exchanged, the actions that will follow.

A couple dies in a car accident. The police officer Darryl informs the babysitter who is taking care of their two children.
One of the two children, Samantha is now a woman, a wonderful mother of a wonderful child, Rudy. She still lives in the old house, works in a bank, takes care of her child. It is a simple life that relies on her stable values. She has a new manager at the bank, an arrogant and selfish man who immediately gets on everybody's nerves. Her boyfriend is Bob, a nice man who did not want to marry her when he could have and now is getting more serious about it.
In another city, Terry (the other child) is say goodbye to his girlfriend. They are broke and hardly talk to each other. Terry takes a bus to go and visit his sister, hoping for financial help.
Terry's arrival in his hometown makes news. He is welcome by everybody, starting with the police officer Darryl. His sister is happy beyond words. She has been worried for him when he didn't write for months. But he has bad news for her: he has been in jail, he has been drifting from one place to another, his girlfriend is in trouble and he is broke. He even curses her.
Samantha still wants him to stay. Terry represents her happy childhood, that was so rudely interrupted. Terry accepts, and, after he is informed that his girlfriend tried to commit suicide, simply mails her the money Samantha offered.
Samantha is a churchgoer and she is shocked that Terry has lost all of his moral values. He is bored by and hates the small town, where nothing ever happens. He seems to hate everything that she has lived for. He smokes (even pot) and gets drunk. But she is happy to have a man around the house.
Samantha has a problem that Terry can solve: her new manager does not want her to leave her office to pick up Rudy at the bus stop. But the two soon become friends beyond Samantha's expectations. First, they disappear and she finds them working on a construction project. Next, he takes Rudy to a bar and plays pool till late.
Bob proposes to Samantha, but she is not ready. Samantha's trust in Terry is further dimished when he forgets to pick up the child and Rudy has to walk to bank in the rain. Then she has an argument with the manager who complains that she is still distracted by family obligations.
The manager shows a human side when he introduces his six-month pregnant wife to all the people in the office, and everybody gives her a cold shoulder. Samantha is moved and invites Brian for a beer. They end up making wild love in the car. When Samantha confesses her love affair to Terry, smoking pot under the stars, Terry is entertained not shocked. Passion erupts, both at the office and at a motel out of town. She enjoys being crazy, being an adultress.
Sammy is doubly insulted when she asks the town's pastor to talk to Terry about finding a direction in his life. In retaliation, Terry cancels a fishing trip he had planned with Rudy. But the following day he changes his mind and takes Rudy fishing. They soon get bored and Terry offers to take Rudy to visit his father, whom he has never seen. The visit turns out a disaster: the father kicks them out, then a fight erupts and Terry is arrested. The mother spends the night at home waiting for news. When Darryl finally intercedes and obtains Terry's release, Samantha asks him to move out: he is not fit to be a model for Rudy.
Terry moves out cursing against her in front of Rudy and for a while Rudy holds a grudge against his mother.
In the meantime, Samantha has decided to stop seeing Brian, because their passion is carrying them too far. At the same time, she has told Bob that she is not ready to accept her proposal.
Terry visits their parents' graves. Then books a seat on the bus. Samantha asks him to come and say goodbye to Rudy. Terry promises, but shows up only at the last minute. He says goodbye to both and takes off, a misfit again.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Erika Sofi) You Can Count On My (2000) e' un dramma familiare ambientato in una cittadina del Midwest che narra la frustrazione dei giovani come aveva fatto Kimberly Peirce in Boys Don't Cry (ma a un livello drammatico completamente diverso). I personaggi di Lonergan sono tutti infelici e nevrotici (sono tutti fumatori), ma non potrebbero mai usare la violenza o essere vittime di violenza, perche' rappresentano il prototipo dell'Americano.
Lo stile di Lonergan e' sobrio e diretto. La maggior parte delle scene sono appena abbozzate: una volta che il contenuto emotivo e' stato trasmesso dai personaggi, il regista si sposta su qualcos'altro, tralasciando i dettagli della scena. Lonergan non perde tempo, e non si abbandona a mostrare i particolari della scena. Si riesce a indovinare quello che succedera', le battute e le azioni che seguiranno. Una coppia muore in un incidente d'auto. L'agente di polizia Darryl informa la babysitter che accudisce i due bambini.
Uno dei due bambini, Samantha e' ora una donna, la madre meravigliosa di un figlio altrettanto meraviglioso, Rudy. Vive ancora nella vecchia casa, lavora in una banca, e si prende cura del suo bambino. Fa una vita semplice basata su valori saldi. In banca ha un nuovo direttore, un uomo arrogante e egoista che nessuno sopporta. Il fidanzato di Samantha si chiama Bob, e' un uomo gentile che pero' non ha voluto sposarla quando avrebbe potuto, ma che ora sta prendendo tutto piu' seriamente.
In un'altra citta', Terry (l'altro figlio) ha detto addio alla sua fidanzata. Si sono lasciati e ora si parlano appena. Terry prende un autobus per andare a trovare sua sorella, sperando in un aiuto finanziario
L'arrivo di Terry nella sua citta' natale fa notizia. Viene accolto da tutti, a cominciare dall'agente di polizia Darryl. Sua sorella e' felice anche se non lo da a vedere. Era preoccupata per lui quando non scriveva per mesi. Ma lui ha cattive notizie per lei: e' stato in prigione, e' stato trasferito da un posto ad un'altro, la sua fidanzata e' in difficolta' e lui l'ha lasciata. E lui la maledice persino.
Samantha vuole che lui rimanga li'. Terry rappresenta la sua infanzia felice, cosi' brutalmente interrotta. Terry accetta, e, piu' tardi viene a sapere che la sua fidanzata ha tentato il suicidio, e lui le invia semplicemente il denaro che Samantha gli ha offerto.
Samantha e' una religiosa praticante e si stupisce del fatto che Terry abbia perso tutti i suoi valori morali. Lui e' sempre annoiato e detesta quella piccola citta', dove non succede mai niente. Sembra odiare tutto quello per cui lei ha vissuto. Fuma (anche marijuana) e beve. Ma lei e' felice di avere un uomo in casa.
Samantha ha un problema che Terry puo' risolvere: il direttore della banca non vuole che lei lasci l'ufficio per andare a prendere Rudy alla fermata dell'autobus. Ma i due diventano presto amici al di la' di ogni aspettativa di Samantha. All'inizio, spariscono e lei li scopre lavorare a un progetto di costruzione. Poi, Terry porta Rudy al bar e giocano a biliardo fino a tardi.
Bob chiede a Samantha di sposarlo, ma lei non e' ancora pronta. La fiducia di Samantha in Terry viene meno quando lui si dimentica di andare a prendere il bambino e Rudy ha camminato fino alla banca sotto la pioggia. Inoltre la donna ha una discussione con il direttore che sostiene che lei e' continuamente distratta dagli impegni familiari.
Il direttore mostra il suo lato umano quando presenta sua moglie al sesto mese di gravidanza a tutti gli impiegati dell'ufficio, e tutti la trattano con freddezza. Samantha torna a casa e invita Brian per una birra. Finiscono a fare l'amore selvaggiamente nell'auto. Quando Samantha rivela la sua relazione a Terry, fumando marijuana sotto le stelle, Terry divertito ma non stupito. La passione divampa, sia in ufficio che in un motel fuori citta'. Si diverte a fare follie, a essere un'adultera.
Sammy e' due volte offesa quando lei chiede al pastore della citta' di parlare a Terry per fargli trovare una buona strada nella vita. In cambio, Terry annulla la gita a pesca che aveva organizzato con Rudy. Ma dopo qualche giorno cambia idea e porta Rudy a pescare. Presto si annoiano e Terry propone a Rudy di andare a trovare suo padre, che non vede da tempo. La visita si trasforma in un disastro: il padre li butta fuori, e poi scoppia una rissa con Terry che viene arrestato. La madre passa la notte a casa in attesa di sue notizie.Quando Darryl alla fine intercede ottenendo il rilascio di Terry, Samantha gli chiede di andarsene: non puo' essere un modello per Rudy.
Terry se ne va insultandola di fronte a Rudy e per un po' Rudy tiene il broncio alla madre.
Nel frattempo, Samantha a deciso di smettere di vedere Brian, perche' la loro passione li sta portando troppo oltre. Allo stesso tempo, dice a Bob di non essere ancora pronta ad accettare la sua proposta.
Terry va a trovare la tomba dei suoi genitori. Poi prende posto sull'autobus. Samantha gli chiede di tornare per dire addio a Rudy. Terry lo promette, ma si fa vivo soltanto all'ultimo minuto. Li saluta entrambi e se ne va, e' nuovamente un disadattato.
Manchester by the Sea (2016) is a film about pain, infinite pain We think it's a film about the dysfunctional teenager who suddenly lost his father but instead we learn that it is the film of the dysfunctional father who accidentally killed his three children. Two men are teaching a child how to fish on a boat. Lee is a handyman, doing his chores in the snowy city. He takes care of four buildings owned by an old Chinese landlord He lives alone and drinks beer at the bar alone. When a girl accidentally pours beer on his shirt and introduces herself as Sharon, he is incapable of striking a conversation. He gets drunk and picks a fight with two suit-and-tie men. He is shoveling snow when the phone rings and he gets the news that his brother Joe has had a heart attack. He drops what he is doing and starts driving towards Manchester, where his brother lives. By the time he gets there, his brother is dead. His brother was divorced and was raising a child, Patrick. A flashback shows the scene when the brother was diagnosed with the heart disease and his hypocritical wife left him. Lee realizes that the son, Patrick, still doesn't know and drives to pick him up from school where he is playing hockey. The film shows again the men on the boat teaching Patrick how to fish, and now we understand it's a flashback. After the boating trip, Lee went back to his wife and his three little children. Everybody in town knows Lee. When the players see Lee, they understand that something bad happened to Patrick's father. Patrick's girlfriend Sally comes to sleep over. They don't call Patrick's mother because they don't even know where she is, but Patrick sends her an email. the following day Lee takes Patrick and Sylvia to high school and takes care of the funeral. Lee's brother wrote a very detailed will in which he asked Lee to move back into town and take care of Patrick, but he never discussed it with Lee. Lee hesitates to accept but the alternative is that Patrick is sent to his selfish alcoholic mother. A flashback shows Lee and his friends partying loudly in the middle of the night and his wife getting very angry. That night, drunk and high, he accidentally set fire to his house, and his children burned to death, and now we know why his wife left him. At the police station he stole the gun of a police officer and tried to kill himself. He sees this flashback while he is debating what to do with the will and Patrick. Somehow this convinces him to take care of Patrick, but he has no intention of moving back into that town. Patrick, on the other hand, has no intention of moving into the city where Lee lives (in a small room). Lee wants to sell his brother's boat that is not in working conditions, but Patrick wants to keep it no matter what. To make matters worse, the funeral arrangement proves to be much more complicated than expected because the ground is frozen in winter: the corpse has to be kept in a freezer till warmer weather. Lee also learns that Patrick has a second girlfriend, Sandy. Patrick plays guitar in a band of inept incompetent kids whose singer is Sandy. Her mom seems to like him. Randy, Lee's ex-wife, calls to offer condolences and asks permission to attend the memorial, but also reveals that she's remarried and pregnant. And so Lee meets her new husband at the memorial. Lee is clearly upset. (The whole memorial is shown in slow motion and without hearing the voices). Lee doesn't like Sylvia. Patrick does not understand why Lee is so attacked to the city where he lives since the job is a lousy handyman job that can be done anywhere. Lee is still haunted by his personal tragedy. Patrick is unconsciously traumatized about his father's corpse and fights with the refrigerator's freezer. When Patrick calms down and falls asleep, Lee remembers the day his brother helped him move into the small room where he still lives. Patrick's alcoholic mother calls and Lee hangs up on her. Patrick gets upset when he learns it, because he'd rather move in with his mother than move to the city with Lee, but Lee has no intention of letting that happen. Lee starts looking for jobs in town, but many people remember how he set fire to his house and don't really welcome him. Patrick asks Lee to flirt with Sandy's mother so Patrick can have sex with Sandy, but Lee bores the mom to death. Lee drives Patrick to the appointment with his mother Elise. Elise is now a reborn Christian and has a very religious fiance, Jeffrey. The lunch is awkward, Elise is neurotic and Jeffrey's controlling behavior is even more awkward. On the way back Patrick is surprised to hear Lee say good things about Elise and now fears that Lee wants to hand him over to Elise. Lee instead helps Patrick raise the money to fix the boat that his father left him, and Lee quietly lets Patrick seduce a girl on the boat. Lee is just walking around town when he runs into his ex-wife pushing the stroller with her new baby. She is eager to talk to him and tell him that she still loves him. Lee, however, doesn't want to hear and walks away, leaving her in tears. Then at the bar he drinks heavily and hits someone randomly. He gets beated by a crowd and is rescued by family friend George. When Lee gets home the following day, Patrick can clearly see the marks of the fight. Lee has decided that Patrick should live with the family friend, so he doesn't have to move to the city with him. Patrick is resentful that Lee doesn't want to stay in town, and Lee finally has to confess that the pain is still there. Patrick cries and Lee hugs him: they are finally friends. Warm weather comes. Patrick moves into the house of the family friend. The funeral finally takes place, and Lee's ex-wife attends with new husband and baby. Lee and Patrick walk back together. Lee tells Patrick to come and visit because he will have a bigger house in the city. Lee and Patrick go fishing on the boat. (Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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