Union Square; A historic and beautiful site within the concrete metropolis that is New York City. You might be thinking, “oh another New York based film”. You’d be partially right. Quite frankly, nothing can prepare you for the what you are about to see on screen and the experience you are about to go through.
Union Square is a film co-written and directed by Nancy Savoca, the creative mind behind 1989’s True Love, a film that won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1989 Sundance Film Festival. It follows the story of two estranged sisters – Lucy (Mira Sorvino) and Jenny (Tammy Blanchard) – who reunite at a critical point in each other’s lives. Jenny has spent a good chunk of her life distancing herself from her roots and that game plan went out the window when her sister Lucy unexpectedly showed up at her front door. The reunion of these two sisters sparks conversations they would rather not have, push them to territories they rather not be in and slowly deconstructs their so called “constructed” lives into a million different pieces.
Savoca’s film was first introduced to audiences in Toronto back in 2011 when the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was quite a head turner, with a great positive response from audiences. Now the film has got an official release date of July 13th, and will play a limited engagement at the Carlton Cinema. What Savoca brings to the forefront is a truly riveting story, one that demonstrates the masterful study of character and the brilliant showcase of deep emotion. The detail is not in the production but rather in the performances, an aspect that Savoca highlights very well, bringing forward a production that will move you like none other.
The highlights of this film are the performances given by Mira Sorvino & Tammy Blanchard. Blanchard portrays this rather insecure, vulnerable woman who fights with herself and her roots. Determined to move away from a life that she detests, she must forcefully change her emotions and the way she behaves, and adapt to a lifestyle very different from her own. Blanchard is very masterful in capturing the inner struggles of her character, adding layers of complexity to her performance through the use of facial expressions, general behavior and dialogue. What you see is a rather ordinary woman with an extraordinary amount of internal pain, a character profile that is difficult to portray but is done brilliantly by Blanchard.
Sorvino, a veteran in her own rank, demonstates why she is an Academy Award winning actress. She portrays a bipolar character with severe mood swings, often confused about the happenings in her life and always on the edge of totally breaking down. She expresses her inner troubles verbally, emotionally and physically, gut wrenching to watch at times, and all of this is portrayed brilliantly by Sorvino. You are introduced to a character, via a very powerful performance, who isn’t afraid to say it how it is. Sorvino demonstrates her mastery of emotion, demonstrating her ability to jump between emotions in a matter of seconds, truly highlighting her characters bipolar side and giving dimension to her character. Her performance is just beautiful to watch on screen.
The two performances together provide us with a yin yang scenario where two forces, very much opposite of each other, come together to create an interconnected story where each tries to unravel the secrets of the other in search of harmony. The film is an excellent example of a study of character. Savoca brings together talented artists to portray delicate characters within a very powerful story, all of which come together to give an opportunity for the audience to reflect on the important things in life: family, relationships & mutual respect. You will not only be amazed by the brilliant performances this production showcases, but you will be left with something to think about as well.
Union Square opens in Toronto on July 13th at the Carlton Cinema. Make sure to check it out!