I experienced Approaching Union Square as a dud. And I admit it may be as much my fault as anything. Unlike with some movies—like Poison Friends that I wrote about recently—I really didn’t make a good effort to stay focused and give it a shot. Once my attention flagged—which was quite early—I was daydreaming through a good portion of the rest of this movie.
The film is a series of monologues and dialogues of young adult New Yorkers talking about their lives and relationships. I think it wants to be vaguely like My Dinner With Andre, a very talky movie that explores deep subjects conversationally.
There are about ten of these little vignettes, with no or only trivial connections with each other. And I just didn’t get anything out of any of them. I didn’t care about these people, and I didn’t want to hear them whining about their love lives and such.
I suspect I could have gotten into it a little more if these were real people talking about real lives, since I do have an interest in personal history type films, but I prefer my fictional characters to be a lot more interesting than this.
One of the problems is this started as a play, and a lot of the acting is in that style, and indeed an amateurish version of that style. That is, the words are like a script instead of what real people would say, and the stilted delivery sounds like the actors are reading their lines.
Not a single one of the vignettes drew me in, and in fact I’d already forgotten at least half of them five minutes after the movie ended.
I feel a little bad I didn’t give Approaching Union Square more of a chance, but it’s hard to imagine that even if I had it would have risen very far from the bottom of the films I’ve written about so far.