Adult siblings Sammy Prescott (Laura Linney) and Terry Prescott (Mark Ruffalo) have had a special bond with each other since they were kids when their parents were tragically killed in a car accident. That bond is why single mom Sammy, who still lives in the family home in Scottsville, upstate New York with her eight-year-old son Rudy (Rory Culkin), is excited to hear that Terry, who she has not seen or heard from in a while, is coming home for a visit. That excitement is dampened slightly upon Terry's arrival, when she learns that he, broke, is only there to borrow money.

A really fine debut feature.

Sammy Prescott (Laura Linney) lives in the small town of Scottsville, upstate New York. She, like her brother Terry (Mark Ruffalo) is an orphan from when she was quite young after a horrific car crash in which both parents were killed. Sammy has chosen to stay in Scottsville clinging to the familiar with her young son Rudy (Rory Culkin). Terry is long gone, he's rootless, irresponsible, trouble on legs. But now he's back in town and Sammy's glad to see him. So is Rudy. Sammy resists a proposal from her long-time boyfriend and instead impulsively leaps into an affair with her relatively new boss at the bank where she works. He's Brian Everett (Matthew Broderick), a married man with a pregnant wife.

The remarkable thing about this film is that it makes seemingly familiar scenarios seem fresh

The remarkable thing about this film is that it makes seemingly familiar scenarios seem fresh, unpredictable even. This is largely because of writer/director Kenneth Lonergan's finely tuned screenplay and the fact that he lets the film focus on its greatest assets his characters and the performers who create them. Linney is absolutely superb as is Mark Ruffalo but the whole cast pulls its weight, including director Kenneth Lonergan, who plays a priest. What's wonderful about the characters is their complexity, they are a mix of all sorts of contradictions just like real people. This is a really fine debut feature.