Union Square

After an upsetting phone call with her boyfriend, Lucy (Mira Sorvino) finds her on the doorstep of her estranged sister Jenny (Tammy Blanchard). She camps out on the couch, intent to stay the night, turning Jenny’s world upside down. Jenny has worked hard to build a life for herself away from her family and hasn’t told Lucy that she is engaged. Lucy has some secrets of her own, including that she has had a child since the last time she saw Jenny and their mother has passed. The two women must confront their past and present in order to move forward with their lives.
Mira Sorvino is mesmerizing as Lucy. She’s loud, she’s obnoxious, she’s uncultured, and is her own worst enemy, but there is something very lovable about her. You feel as if you know Lucy, or at least someone a lot like her, or maybe that’s the native Long Islander in me talking. Patti LuPone has a cameo as the girls’ mother and you see that she too was full of life one minute, on the ledge the next, but it’s hard to tell how much of Lucy’s imbalance is a result of grief and what is her becoming her damaged mother.
Blanchard stands her own in a role that could have easily been overshadowed by Sorvino’s showier performance. The two play a kind of acting tennis as Sorvino’s every action annoys Blanchard furthers and further. One can’t blame Jenny for distancing herself from the family and their never-ending drama. You can really feel Blanchard feeling and more and more out of her element the longer she is exposed to her sister. Also clear is her struggle to maintain the fabricated reality she has built for her fiancé, which includes being from Maine, a lie one could see through just by hearing Lucy say “hello”.
The film’s biggest drawback is that it’s a film. There are few characters and the majority of the action takes place in one location. When things become more cinematic, it feels forced. Given how performance driven the story is, it would have been really interesting to watch Sorvino and Blanchard play with these characters on stage eight shows a week. Also, the film kind of ends with no solid conclusion. We’re left with a lot of questions about what these women’s next steps will be. While there’s nothing against an ambiguous endings, I was left wondering for a moment if there was a missing reel or something.
While the performances are strong, the story is fairly forgettable and the ending unsatisfying, which is a shame considering how perfectly casted the leads are.