Tammy Blanchard (left) and Mira Sorvino Square off.
UNION SQUARE (Nancy Savoca). See listings. Rating: NNN
Union Square plays clever tricks with narrative, which is a good thing, because after the first 15 minutes you'll wonder whether you can sit through a feature with such an unlikeable main character.
As the film opens, Lucy (Mira Sorvino) arrives at Union Square subway station and gets on her cell, trying to convince her married boyfriend to meet her. He's obviously not that into her. To say high-strung Lucy overreacts to these unsatisfying phone calls - shrieking profanities, then needily whimpering - is an understatement. When she turns up unexpectedly at Jenny's (Tammy Blanchard) apartment and aggressively settles in for the day (and probably the night), endlessly mocking Jenny's wholesome lifestyle, she's become insufferable.
But Savoca knows how to tell a story. Soon you discover the nature of Lucy's connection to Jenny and start to relax. As information steadily leaks out - most of it surprising - the film becomes wholly absorbing.
It's still shambolic and lacks texture, lurching from one emotional moment to another. Sorvino is at times too shrill as the troubled Lucy, but a beautifully restrained Blanchard gives the film some balance. Look for Patti LuPone in a gem of a small role.
Screens Sunday (June 24), 5:30 pm, as part of the Female Eye Film Festival. See Indie & Rep Film.