Romantic comedies should make you smile. It’s just in the romcom DNA. So, when something as charming as The Broken Hearts Gallery comes along, it’s important to take notice. Full of witty dialogue, a genuine sense of what going through a broken heart is like, and a fun take on getting over a breakup, there’s a lot to enjoy here. Plus, it’s another big sign that actress Geraldine Viswanathan is a comic star in the making. She has more than got the goods. The more this movie focuses on her, as well as her friends, the better and more entertaining it gets. Some of the romantic aspects here fall short, but the comedy and cleverness more than save the day.
The Broken Hearts Gallery is mostly trying to make you laugh, but the sly way in which the emotions of the story present themselves are handled quite well. This is what sets it apart from your garden variety romcom. The romance may be the weak point, but the comedy is in full force. More importantly, the mixture is smooth and goes down easy. While the state of the movie theater industry will make this unlikely to be a hit, there’s a huge future for this flick, as audiences discover it and its charms.
20-something gallery assistant Lucy Gulliver (Viswanathan) is a bit of a hoarder, but not in the way you’d think. No, she’s an emotional hoarder, opting to keep things from her relationships. In the aftermath of a breakup with Max Vora (Utkarsh Ambudkar), this time proves to be a bit different. Spurred on by her friends Amanda (Molly Gordon) and Nadine (Phillipa Soo), Lucy takes steps to get over Max. Thus begins the start of the spark of an idea…The Broken Hearts Gallery, a place where people can leave trinkets from past relationships.
Determined to make this pop-up a reality, Lucy teams up with Nick (Dacre Montgomery), who’s trying to start up a boutique hotel. Planning to use his space for the gallery, a friendship and flirtation begin, fueled by an initial meet cute. However, when Max tries to win her back, things get complicated. Of course, it’s not hard to guess how this one will end, but the joy is in watching it all come together.
This is a wonderful vehicle for Geraldine Viswanathan, who really holds your attention. She’s a force of nature. Supporting players like Molly Gordon and Phillipa Soo also are given time to shine, but it’s Viswanathan who leaves the true impact. Gordon and Soo provide big laughs, but the emotional quotient comes from Viswanathan. Dacre Montgomery is slightly bland as a sparring partner (though hardly bad here), so this is doubly important.
Writer/director Natalie Krinsky puts forth a really nice debut here, suggesting a strong future as a feature filmmaker. Krinsky has a simple visual style, but her writing really shines. She just has a great sense of how her characters would act and speak, allowing you to form bonds with everyone. Lucy is obviously the focus, and moments both big and small involving her are highlights, but the ability to make impressions with smaller characters like Amanda and Nadine stands out. Watch out for Krinsky going forward, as she has a voice that the genre is in desperate need of hearing more from.
If you enjoy romcoms, The Broken Hearts Gallery is just what the doctor ordered. It’ll put a smile on your face and make you forget the state of the world for a little under two hours. What more could you possibly want in 2020?