The Broken Hearts Gallery is a rom–com that endears you from the start with a cast that you can root for. It is the perfect film for right now.
Directed: Natalie Krinsky
Written: Natalie Krinsky
Starring: Geraldine Viswanathan, Darce Montgomery, Phillipe Soo, Molly Gordon
Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan) is a mid-20s gallery assistant who hoards mementos from her past relationships, much to the chagrin of her long time friends Nadine (Phillipa Soo) and Amanda (Molly Gordon). When she loses her latest and most adult boyfriend Max (Utkarsh Ambudkar) and her job she by chance meets the private Nick (Darce Montgomery). Who has spent all of his money transforming a building into a boutique hotel. Forcefully taking a spot in the hotel Lucy decides that the best way to heal is to let go of her momento and in turn creates a space for others to do the same all while helping Nick fund his dream hotel.
There are of course some universal rom-com tropes that are ticked off with a charmingly joyous frenzy. We have our lead who has a creative job who gets sacked, but is supported emotionally (and seemingly financially unless she got a great payoff for the next month or so) by her two best and zaniest friends. Our duo meet in a by chance manner and he is equally as creative, but a little pragmatic (isn’t it always the way). By sheer luck he also has a comic relief best friend who is in a stable relationship. Together our two lost souls work out love and their own life in the greatest city in the world.
Yet, with all of these usual tropes The Broken Hearts Gallery stands above the rest of its ilk thanks to Krinsky’s script. While these characters are a tad outlandish, they are grounded in reality. An example of this is when Lucy is approached by an ex, her friends are instantly defensive for her. Just enough to humour themselves when they threaten him. I have very much seen scenarios like that played out in real life and they are a sfunny as they are awkward. Happily, this continues throughout the film with subtle mentions in conversations.
This is a modern rom-com that allows the entire cast to have flaws and not the standard quirks. The fact that these characters know these slight faults is refreshing to me. This is a film that tries to present a true reflection of society in 2020. By doing so it improves the entire scope of the film.
We also have moments of true heart and emotion in the film. Some of the stories of people handing over their memento to Lucy are truly heart breaking. Added to this some character expansion on character motivations and reasoning that will get to you. These moments sneak up on you and this continues the trend of how much of a surprise this film is. It works on every level for an audience.
What is most impressive about The Broken Hearts Gallery is how committed everyone is to their roles. Usually, we see actors phone it in a tad. Yet this young cast is more than willing to make sure their character shines which challenges and heightens the entire ensemble. Nadine and Amanda are characters that so easily could have been written as the stereotypical best friends. Here however but their continual barbs make their friendship feel real and meaningful to the story. They are not here just to be the emotional support and that continues the trend of this film feeling refreshing.
Our leads have a lot of work to keep up with the extremely funny supporting cast. Happily Krinsky has their roles down here, otherwise they would get lost in the shuffle. It also helps that Viswanathan and Montgomery have chemistry in spades. Both excel in their roles, particularly Viswanathan, who this is an undoubted star vehicle for thanks to her infectious energy. Although this is just a rom-com Viswanathan plays the role of Lucy with absolutely zero fears with her joyous performance. There are many big things to come from her in the future. With Montgomery, his performance perfectly Viswanathan’s. But, is still able to have some extremely funny moments himself. It’s always important to have a character confess that they cannot sing, that they belt out those flat notes.
Where The Broken Hearts Gallery beings to falter is in the third act. Simply put it just becomes a bit too convoluted for its own good. All subplots are forcibly tied up in an unconvincing way in what feels like a race to the finish scenario. Luckily doesn’t take away from the overall film. Which is a blessing and assertion of how good those first two acts are.
Natalie Krinsky has created a film that embodies the aspects of the romantic comedy that everyone wants to experience. Krinsky also navigates The Broken Hearts Gallery through the traps that most first time directors fall for to create a wonderfully endearing piece that very much has its own voice.