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Review: The Broken Hearts Gallery

Monday, 21 September 2020



“Heartbreak is the loneliest feeling in the world. And the truth is it happens to all of us."

Going into The Broken Hearts Gallery, I was a woman with high expectations. I don’t think I’ve ever said before here that I love rom-coms. It’s something I’ve shied away from admitting in the past, in fear that I wouldn’t be considered a ‘good feminist’ since women enjoying the light films have previously been a source of ridicule. The double standard of women enjoying romantic comedies vs men enjoying action films is a discussion for another day though.. Back to the review.

Written and directed by Natalie Krinsky, the broken heart’s gallery follows the conventional rom-com idea we expect going into a screening, but what film these days doesn’t in some way start with boy meets girl? The classic formula of an early-on messy break up, supportive yet hilarious best friends and a dashing male who arrives at just the right time even if he is just a friend… At face value if treated like most reviewers treat all other non-Ephron written romantic comedies, Broken Heart’s Gallery could easily be written off. To do so based upon this, I believe the potential viewer would be making a big mistake. Krinsky’s script brings so much more to the formula though, creating life in what has been considered to be a rather dying genre. Crammed with both smart-relatable witticisms, it’s hard not to fall in love with main character Lucy and the journey she forges throughout the film. I entered with high hopes, thinking this would be one of the films I’d adore this year, not at all expecting it to bring me to tears at points.

 The film opens on a ‘perfect’ relationship that quickly turns south in what is one of the cringiest break ups I’ve seen in recent years. (A viral moment that indicates how Krinsky has ensured the film is based in ‘our time’) Lucy is a 26-year old gallery assistant who dreams of one day being curator, but who is so consumed by past relationships that she hoards mementos from every one of them. Her room is the source of many jokes by her friends Nadine and Amanda, with its décor ranging from a plastic piggy bank to bags of shoe laces and a monopoly thimble. It’s all essentially crap, but it means something to her. Following the split, her friends urge her to throw away the ex memorabilia and move on; all leading to Lucy bumping into Nick (Dacre Montgomery) who is conveniently setting up a boutique hotel where she begins a shrine to love lost, where the broken-hearted can leave behind mementoes of beloved exes so that they can finally move on.

The Broken Heart’s gallery does not re-invent the rom-com, but does it amazingly well and brings it into an overall more relatable modern era. The idea of a broken hearts gallery reframes the romance of the film, it challenges how we look at our own break ups and how we even understand heart break to begin with.  The notion is a poignant one and gives the film even more depth when we do eventually find out the reason for Lucy’s hoard of belongings. The level of depth this creates for the film though is only made possible by the casting of the film.

Amanda (Molly Gordon), Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Nadine (Phillipa Soo)

Geraldine Viswanathan stars as Lucy, playing the woman as funny, and unfiltered; the rom-com heroine we’ve been longing for who actually seems somewhat relatable. The performance is full of such life that it’s easy to relate to Lucy out the film, bringing much needed dimension and diversity to the usually self-deprecating twenty something living in New York. The chemistry between the two leads is natural, barbs bouncing easily between Viswanathan and Montgomery. There is something almost delightful about the way they spar with one another which creates a courtship built on a genuine friendship, establishing the will-they-won’t-they I find your happy as a viewer to end in either friendship or romance. I will also say it’s refreshing to see Montgomery without the mullet he sported as Billy in Stranger things, looking every part the dashing yet brooding love interest to match his brilliant performance. The supporting cast of Philippa Soo, yes Eliza from Hamilton, and Molly Gordon are great fun adding witty support to main character Lucy throughout the film. Overall a great watch and just a fun break from life at the moment.

One last mention goes to Cineworld for their precautions in the cinema, online booking is easy to use and I felt safe the entire time I was there. There were only four of us in the screening so social distancing was easy, but the one way system was easy to navigate making me feel safe for the entire time I was there.

Favourite quotes:

“My vibrator will never break my heart.” – Never have more true words been uttered, the vibrator is every modern woman’s best friend in heart break

“Men. You run the planet, you start wars, you killed the bees!!” – The most entertaining rant I’ve seen about the patriarchal history of the world

“You fucked more Russian models than a tech billionaire.”- The jokes around Nadine’s romantic endeavours were a firm favourite for me. A lesbian who could be poisoned by Putin for her vagina, what’s not to love?

Star rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐

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