Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan), the heroine of “The Broken Hearts Gallery,” is a soulfully flip 26-year-old New York art gallery assistant with a problem, or a fixation, or maybe we should call it a ruling passion. She’s so invested in her romantic relationships that each time one of them ends, she holds onto the mementos from it and treats the objects as if they were more important than the ex she broke up with. She’ll save old shoelaces, a thimble from a Monopoly game, or a pink rubber piggy bank: anything that reminds of her of the bittersweet times that were. Her Brooklyn bedroom looks like a bag lady’s knickknack museum. She’s a hoarder of lost-love nostalgia.
The movie knows this, and cracks a lot of jokes about it (the H-word is used), but it also believes in her obsession; Lucy’s over-the-top reverence for the totems of the past marks her as a romantic of three dimensions. Natalie Krinsky, who wrote and directed “The Broken Hearts Gallery,” is an unheralded filmmaker (this is her first feature), and she has a witty and spirited commercial voice. Watching the film, you know you’re seeing an unabashed spawn of “Girls” and “Sex and the City,” a kind of anthropological Williamsburg careerist rom-com set, in this case, in a woke wonderland of post-feminist awareness.
The Broken Hearts Gallery is overflowing with charm and personality, making it exactly the kind of fun, feel-good romantic comedy needed right now.
As a genre, romantic comedies have seen a resurgence in recent years, largely thanks to streaming services like Netflix, but The Broken Hearts Gallery is the now-rare theatrical release. There was a time when all rom-coms released in theaters, of course, but with more and more blockbusters earning higher and higher box office tallies, mid-range movies have had to find other ways of reaching their audiences. For rom-coms, they’ve been relegated to the made-for-TV and streaming spheres – with a few exceptions, like Crazy Rich Asians. But though fewer rom-coms release in theaters, there’s still plenty of interest in the genre and writer-director Natalie Krinsky’s movie is an excellent addition to the genre. The Broken Hearts Gallery is overflowing with charm and personality, making it exactly the kind of fun, feel-good romantic comedy needed right now.
The movie follows twenty-something Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan), who’s dumped by her boyfriend Max (Utkarsh Ambudkar) and fired from her gallery assistant job on the same night. After weeks of mourning the relationship, Lucy’s friends – Amanda (Molly Gordon) and Nadine (Phillipa Soo) – urge her to get rid of the mementos she’s saved from not just her relationship with Max but other past boyfriends. When Lucy runs into Nick (Dacre Montgomery), who’s trying to open a bar/hotel but struggling to get it completed, she inadvertently stumbles onto a place to put all her mementos. Together, Lucy and Nick work to open the Chloe Hotel, to complete his vision and give her a location to showcase the pieces from others brought in to the Broken Hearts Gallery. Of course, Lucy and Nick’s relationship grows deeper, but they’ll have to get over their respective baggage in order to move forward.
If Geraldine Viswanathan’s bubbly spirit could be bottled and distributed, the world would be a much brighter and funnier place. A breakout in the 2018 high school comedy “Blockers,” Viswanathan’s radioactive charm and charisma powers the winning romantic comedy “The Broken Hearts Gallery,” the debut of writer/director Natalie Krinsky.
With pluck and wit in spades, Viswanathan’s character, Lucy, is a classic rom-com heroine whom audiences will instantly fall for. She’s a kooky, quirky art gallery assistant in New York City with a penchant for sentimental souvenirs that borders on hoarding, the kind of leading lady with whom one can identify, or fall in love, and in the best case scenario, a little bit of both.
It’s Lucy’s open heart, often broken, that is the fulcrum of Krinsky’s film. After an embarrassing work incident and subsequent breakup with her suave superior, Max (Utkarsh Ambudkar), at the tony Woolf Gallery, Lucy descends into a depression surrounded by all her stuff: old tchotchkes and trash that remind her of her many, many broken hearts, mementos of the past that ensure all of these old loves were real, at one point. Her roommates Nadine (Phillipa Soo, outfitted in gloriously Sapphic ’70s duds) and Amanda (Molly Gordon, delightfully sociopathic) demand Lucy get rid of it all, but where to put it?
Scott Menzel’s review of the Broken Heart Gallery starring the incredibly talented Geraldine Viswanathan.
User Rating: 9
The formula behind making a great romantic comedy seems relatively simple, and yet so few of them manage to stand the test the of time. The reason why The Broken Hearts Gallery is so effective is that writer/director Natalie Krinsky embraces most of the standard tropes found in romantic comedies while adding her own personal story into the mix. Krinsky manages to create a film poking fun at how silly people behave after a relationship comes to an end but showcases how relationships can impact and change our lives. Lucy saves various things from her relationships as a way to hold on to the past and remember the little details about the men she fell in love with.
In a move that offers hope amid a pandemic landscape that remains notoriously difficult to forecast, Sony has scheduled a July 10 theatrical-only launch for The Broken Hearts Gallery and positioned the rom-com as the first studio release of the summer one week ahead of Tenet.
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions’ Stage 6 Films acquired worldwide rights to Natalie Krinsky’s directorial debut, on which Selena Gomez served as executive producer, from producer-financier No Trace Camping.
Dacre Montgomery and Geraldine Viswanathan star in the story of a young art gallery assistant in New York who inspires romantics everywhere when she sets up a pop-up space filled with souvenirs from her former relationships.
Elevation Pictures will handle Canadian distribution on the film, which also stars Utkarsh Ambudkar, Molly Gordon, Phillipa Soo, Suki Waterhouse, Arturo Castro, Ego Nwodim, Taylor Hill and Bernadette Peters.
No Trace Camping’s David Gross produced, and Gomez takes her place on an executive producer roster that includes Mandy Teefey, Jesse Shapira, Jeff Arkuss, Josh Clay Phillips, Mason Novick and Michelle Knudsen.