In a romantic movie, a relationship’s break-up is simply used as a story device – a stepping stone towards the rising action. But, writer/director Natalie Krinsky uses this turning point as the main focus in her rom-com The Broken Hearts Gallery, a conventional film with a few good laughs and character-driven surprises along the way.
Making the leap from a scene-stealing supporting actor to a mainstream leader, Geraldine Viswanathan (Blockers, Netflix’s The Package) plays Lucy Gulliver, an aspiring gallerist who often finds herself lovelorn and vulnerable from faltered romances. She’s developed a habit of keeping souvenirs from past relationships; a gimmick that started out as amusing nostalgia but now prevents her from finding real closure. Her latest split causes her to finally reflect on life and, after being inspired, she decides to create an exhibit for people to open up about their failed relationships through their own personal totems. Along the way, she’s supported by her close friends Amanda and Nadine (Molly Gordon, Phillips Soo) and a charming acquaintance, Nick (Dacre Montgomery), who allows Lucy to set up her pop-up project in his work-in-progress hotel.
Although The Broken Hearts Gallery doesn’t think outside the box in terms of its genre and structure, this is a well-told story about rebounding from sadness though creativity. I imagine it must be hard avoiding melodrama when creating a film about heartbreak, but Natalie Krinsky does so effortlessly. Krinsky, additionally, relies on the chemistry and lightheartedness of her actors to carry the movie. A daunting task for the wrong ensemble (That Awkward Moment, No Strings Attached), but it’s hardly a challenge considering the talented and all-around charismatic cast this movie has been blessed with; including Viswanathan’s confidently grounded performance.
While my take on The Broken Hearts Gallery’s originality may sound blasé, I realize how much more effective it could be for other audiences; primarily movie goers overcoming their first split. The Broken Hearts Gallery, however, decides to swing towards the PG-13 crowd with its mature language and frank sex talk. I wish the film had kept it clean through and through, since the bluntness doesn’t really contribute to the characters or make any of the jokes funnier. A more wholesome version may have jeopardized the film’s realism, but it would’ve opened the film up to pre-teens who are looking for a sweet and cathartic movie they can identify with.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie