Union Square (2012)
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Critic Reviews for Union Square
It is intended for an audience that is willing to take a journey without knowing the destination.
The kind of character-driven movie about whacked-out characters we need more of (the characters and the movies).
Mira Sorvino is very good -- too good -- at playing a very annoying person in Nancy Savoca's Union Square.
Propelled by a rangy, superbly colorful performance by Mira Sorvino, the film grabs hold of the viewer from the jump and snowballs toward a deftly moving and concise third act.
It doesn't pretend to be anything more than it is - a slice-o'-life domestic drama/dark comedy of manners savvy about its limits and sufficiently disciplined to keep its convolutions to a credible, impactful minimum.
Audience Reviews for Union Square
Nancy Savoca came on strong with her feature debut in 1989 called TRUE LOVE. I was an instant fan. While I thought her followup DOGFIGHT was an admirable failure, she's really struggled ever since to get projects going. Trust me, I feel her pain. With UNION SQUARE, she's cobbled together $100,000, an Oscar winner, an Emmy winner, and a 12-day schedule to see what happens.
With UNION SQUARE, she's gotten so much of it right that it pains me to be so lukewarm about it as a whole. Let's start with the good. When you want to attract great talent like Sorvino, your script better have juicy, playable moments for an actor. Savoca, here with co-write Mary Tobler, deliver that completely. Sorvino plays a desperate woman who barges in on her estranged sister and pretty much takes over her life. Dumped by her married boyfriend, Sorvino's character has a hair-trigger temper, a need for attention, and a palpable sense of grief. The character may be annoying, but Sorvino is at the top of her game here.
Same goes for Tammy Blanchard, so wonderful as the young Judy Garland in LIFE WITH JUDY GARLAND. Playing the rigid sister, she reveals hidden layers, and to watch them come off is truly a joy to behold. There is an abundance of truth in this film, difficult to watch, yet jaw-dropping in its accuracy.
Unfortunately, I couldn't help notice that what we have here is essentially a filmed play. It's mostly 2-4 characters sitting around a room talking, and talking, and talking. Last year's CARNAGE was the same, to even worse results. At least UNION SQUARE didn't start out as a play, or else I'd chalk it up to an adaptation that was never properly opened up. Instead, we have an ultra-low-budget film which was most likely conceived as such. Savoca probably said, "I have an apartment, and some great actor friends, so let's put on a show!" Nothing wrong with that - in fact, it's admirable. It's just not terribly exciting filmmaking. But, if you wanna see a Tony-worthy play at movie ticket prices, then UNION SQUARE is your man!
The film was so so. It reminded me of two films, Pieces of April and In Her Shoes. Those films were better than this one. The film had the same look and style that Pieces of April did. Mira Sorvino's character reminded me of Cameron Diaz's character in, In Her Shoes. While, Tammy Blanchard's character reminded me of Toni Collete's character in, In Her Shoes. I was surprised by the short running time of this movie. The pacing is also a little off. At times, the film feels like a stage play.
The best part of the film are the performances. Mira Sorvino does a great job here. I would love to see her in more roles. Tammy Blanchard is good here too. Both her and Sorvino have a great on screen chemistry as sisters. Michael Rispoli and Patti LuPone are good in their supporting roles.
On a personal note, Union Square is one of my favorite hangouts in NYC. I loved seeing it on the big screen in this movie.
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