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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Union Square
Directed by Nancy Sovoca
Filmbuff 07/12 DVD/VHS Feature Film
R – strong graphic depiction of drug addiction, language

Lucy (Mira Sorvino) is loud, rude, and self-absorbed young woman from the Bronx who has taken a subway into Manhattan with hopes of seeing her lover, a married man who brushes off. This humiliation sends her into a pit of anxiety and depression. She decides to pay an unannounced visit on her sister Jenny (Tammy Blanchard) whom she hasn’t seen for three years.

These two sisters couldn't be more different. Lucy is garish, emotional, and just too much whereas Jenny is quiet, elegant, and successful. She is running a natural foods business with her fiance Bill (Mike Doyle). It is a hoot watching Lucy squirm when she sees the meal Jenny has prepared. She is much more relaxed when her best friend (Daphne Rubin-Vega) shows up to console her about being treated so badly by her lover. Meanwhile, Jenny wonders when her sister will leave and whether she will wreck the beautiful couch she is sleeping on for a few days.

Writer and director Nancy Savoca was at the helm of one of our favorite spiritual films, Household Saints, which showed how God worked miracles in the lives of people dealing with such seemingly insignificant matters as sausages, card games, ironing, and scrubbing the floors. Union Square is not as ambitious a film but it does show Savoca's continuing devotion to character-driven dramas where vulnerable human beings trip, stumble, and fall as they struggle to make sense of the past, come to terms with death, and determine whether their family ties are worth keeping or not.

Savoca draws out fine performances from Mira Sorvino and Tammy Blanchard as the two estranged sisters from the Bronx who reach a point where they must choose either reconciliation or permanent separation from each other. After several touching emotional explosions they are able to reach out in the darkness for the forgiveness and understanding both of them so desperately need.


Special features on the DVD include a Q & A and a trailer.

 

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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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