The Broken Hearts Gallery follows a young twenty-something gallery assistant, Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan) who gets dumped by her boyfriend, Max (Utkarsh Ambudkar) and fired from her job on the same night. She drunkenly gets into a stranger’s car, mistaking it for her Lyft and meets Nick (Dacre Montgomery), a hotel developer, who is charmed by Lucy and drops her off at her home. Weeks later, they meet again, and Nick is struggling to keep his dream boutique hotel afloat while Lucy is jobless, broken-hearted and convinces him to curate an exhibition where people can leave their memorabilia from past relationships.
Although Nick was reluctant at first, both of them sensed an opportunity. Nick, with his hotel’s space and Lucy, with her art background, were able to connect with people from all around New York. For Lucy, investing her time and energy means a lot to her considering the heartbreak she went through. Her friends, Amanda (Molly Gordon) and Nadine (Phillipa Soo) call her an “emotional hoarder” because of the ridiculous amount of memorabilia in her room that she cannot get rid of. Every object has a meaning and sentimental value behind it and she cannot seem to let them go. As for Nick, when people start contributing and donating to the gallery, he is able to enhance his vision for the hotel. There is a sense of togetherness and understanding between them, and as they build a friendship, a romantic tension starts to build up.
Written and directed by Natalie Krinsky, The Broken Hearts Gallery is definitely cheesy and cliche. It does not benefit when there are comparisons to HBO’s Girls and Sex and the City, but in Krinsky’s directorial debut there’s a winning spark that cannot be denied. There are moments of the authenticity of a young woman that goes through heartbreak and collects objects of lost love for nostalgia. The movie tackles Lucy’s emotional journey of letting go of her failed relationships. It explores the painful side of heartaches through Lucy’s perspective as well as the supportive bond between her two best friends. The three of them share an apartment together and their individual personalities are refreshing to see on screen. Nadine, who dates and dumps Russian models that she jokes about being poisoned by Vladamir Putin and Amanda, a law student who prefers to express her affection through hostile messages to her boyfriend who never says a word. In a scene where Lucy gets home dumped by Max, Amanda and Nadine bring her a box of tissues, a blanket and a bag of chips. The focus on female friendship is rarely seen, but this movie presents their connection and support, sometimes tolerated as Lucy hoards her memorabilia as loyalty. This movie is goofy and charmingly irresistible at the same time, all thanks to Viswanathan and Montgomery.
As the lead of The Broken Hearts Gallery, Viswanathan elevates the movie as a strong and memorable character. Her performance is confident and engaging and brings an energetic presence in every scene. She delivers her lines with boundless spark and energy and her interactions with the other characters are comfortable. One of the many aspects to love about this movie is that Viswanathan is not the usual white, skinny girl who is usually the lead in romantic comedies. The main lead is of South Asian descent from Australia, and it’s rare to see an actress like Viswanathan as the main lead in a genre that is dominated by white women. There is no sense of awkwardness between them, and the cynical Nick, played by Montgomery, is more controlled and moody. Their chemistry is perhaps the best part of the movie, and their sense of romantic tension eases as the movie progresses. It’s refreshing that their friendship starts with an innocent bond that slowly turns into a romance. Some may say that it’s cliched but that’s what a romantic comedy is. The comedy ensemble’s quick gags and one-liners are extraordinary and the moments are genuinely funny and wholehearted.
The Broken Hearts Gallery is an alluring tale of a young girl in New York desperately trying to get over her failed relationships. The process to get over the lost lovers is to open a gallery and finally let them go. All of the characters share a message of an item that has meaning behind it, there is a justification for leaving them behind. There are so many relatable moments such as hoarding objects from previous relationships, Lucy going through a breakup and dealing with watching comfort movies and her friends supporting her no matter what. There is an explanation for every feature of what this movie can mean to someone, and Lucy learns to grow out of that part of her life after she meets Nick. Through the big neon lights and the mementoes at the gallery, Lucy and Nick finally accept each other’s feelings. It embraces an empathetic view of unlucky lovers to a compassionate conclusion of their love story.
Edited by: Raayaa Imthiyaz
This article was also published in the Women’s Republic.