Union Square feels like an extended acting exercise

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Starring Mira Sorvino and Tammy Blanchard. Rating unavailable.

In Union Square, Mira Sorvino comes on like a hurricane with killer heels and bad highlights, screeching “Fuck you!” and making fake kissy-kissies into her cellphone. Think larger-than-life Real Housewife of Jersey Shore.

The key to Nancy Savoca’s no-budget chamber piece is somehow putting up with the character’s annoying antics until the movie’s moving third act, when we finally start to see the real person behind the streaky mascara.

Sorvino’s Lucy has arrived in Manhattan from the Bronx to meet up with a guy, but when that goes bad, she turns up at the pristine condo of her sister Jenny (Tammy Blanchard). They haven’t seen each other for three years, and no wonder: Jenny, about to marry her partner in a whole-foods company, has done just about everything to erase her past. And when Hurricane Lucy descends on her home, the contrast is amusing. Jenny speaks in whispery tones and has conniptions when her sister alternately pulls out cigarettes and a small poodle from her bag.

With its claustrophobic indoor setting, Union Square can feel like an extended acting exercise, and Sorvino sometimes takes things a little further over the top than needed. For on-point moments, note her reaction to Jenny and hubby Bill’s curried-tofu dinner. But things become more compelling when Savoca subtly starts to reveal the sisters’ secrets—ones they keep from each other, their partners, and even themselves. And you’ll start to wonder if the unhinged one is the woman in the muted yogawear instead of the cougar in the suffocating miniskirts.

After all the screaming and crying, the message that comes through is surprisingly quiet and meaningful. Family is family—even when your sibling happens to take her fashion cues from Snooki and her manners from The Sopranos.


Watch the trailer for Union Square.

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