Union Square: Austin Film Festival Reviews

Lucy arrives in the city to surprise a lover who refuses to see her. Left with nowhere to go, she visits estranged sister Jenny (Tammy Blanchard) whom she hasn’t spoken to in several years. Jenny lives a very restrained, organized lifestyle in an apartment which serves as the center of her and fiancée Bill’s (Mike Doyle) organic food business. Lucy is free and outspoken and promptly takes over Jenny’s space, to her great horror. The sisters quickly make up for lost time as news of Jenny’s life makeover and their mother’s recent death are quickly exchanged.

As simple a description as it may be, that is precisely and uniquely what the film is all about. Re-discovering each other’s lives, reacting to each other’s news and ultimately exploring the importance of family and the binds that forever remain regardless of how much change is desired. Writer/director Nancy Sacova takes a very minimalist approach at the film’s main premise. While change does occur and some growth is experienced, plot holes are still often left unattended.

Mira Sorvino’s Lucy is exuberant and full of life. She shines in the role with no boundaries and offers a convincing portrayal of a woman under great emotional distress while still remaining completely in her naturally cheery character. Blanchard, on the other hand, remains so stoic. While the role requires a certain uptight calmness, her fall is often in the fact that above all else, we can feel her acting rather than living. Doyle too suffers in the very one-dimensional role of Bill who remains supportive through the worst of revelations, showing no sign of humanity in what would trigger some form of disappointment in anyone. While it is likely a problem in character development rather than bad acting, the fact remains that the film leaves much to be desired in that area.

Union Square is a film entirely revolving around people and evolutions. It has no fancy tricks or exciting occurrences. It is full of sweet sisterly moments followed by moments of vague confusion. It is neither good or bad, it simply exists, much like its protagonists.