Natalie Krinsky’s The Broken Hearts Gallery follows the narrative of Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan), who is healing from a breakup. At this time, she meets Nick (Dacre Montgomery), and they go on a voyage of self-discovery while building a hotel, intentionally or unwittingly. Krinsky skillfully repurposes heterosexual romantic stereotypes, while relying on some, and injects them with a lot of breeziness, relatability, and honesty. All of this is masterfully brought to light by the skilled cast, particularly Geraldine Viswanathan.
Oh! This is the replay of That Awkward Moment. I’ve always avoided straight romances because there are too many of them and they promote the idea that it’s “normal,” thereby marginalizing the LGBTQ+ community and their tales. Certain films, such as La La Land, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Veer Zaara, and others, manage to slip through the gaps.
After all, they have enough cinematic flare to earn their place rather than just grab the attention because they are hetero romances. But then some check every box required to create a clichéd, hetero-love narrative, and for a variety of reasons, they wind up in that frigid corner allocated for hetero-romances. The Awkward Moment is an example of a rare specimen. This occurrence had not occurred in quite some time. And if it hadn’t been for The Broken Hearts Gallery, I would have happily continued my hot run.
Natalie Krinsky wrote and directed The Broken Hearts Gallery. Genevieve Vincent composed the music, Alar Kivilo shot the film, Shawn Paper edited it, Zazu Myers did the production design, Jason Clarke did the art direction, David Edgar did the set design, Lea Carlson did the costume design, and Kim Bean, Stacey Dutrizac, Omar Roessler, and Adelaide Hobson Terene did the hair and make-up. Geraldine Viswanathan, Dacre Montgomery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Molly Gordon, Phillipa Soo, Bernadette Peters, Arturo Castro, Suki Waterhouse, Ego Nwodim, Taylor Hill, Roy Choi, Megan Ferguson, Tattiawna Jones, Nathan Dales, and others are among those who appear. The plot revolves around Lucy (Viswanathan), who has a break-up just when she believes she has reached the pinnacle of her career.
She meets Nick (Montgomery), who is likewise on a self-discovery trip. And, whether deliberately or not, they embarked on a road to recovery, with Nick striving to establish his hotel and Lucy attempting to create the titular gallery.
The Broken Hearts Gallery’s likability stems from Natalie Krinsky’s ability to generate authentic interactions.
Two of the most important reasons why the film works for me are a) the conversation and b) the metaphor reuse. Let’s start with the first reason. The conversation is well-written and overlaps. It is overlapping! What’s the deal with that? Because that’s how people speak. You talk, I talk, and everyone in the middle talks (This is a reference that only those who studied computers at Don Bosco School in Siliguri would understand, but I’ll leave it in since it’s a reference to how the characters allude to strange, obscure things that add to their identity).
If you concentrate just on Lucy and Nick, you’ll see that they don’t flirt. At all. They merely converse, make subtle character discoveries, and notice things, and you learn to cheer for them as a result. Their romanticism is not forced down your throat; rather, it is allowed to develop within us. It is great!
Now for the metaphor of repurposing. On a literary level, Krinsky employs all the tired-to-death tropes, such as meeting a stranger who turns out to be the love of your life or idealistic roommates who come to emotionally rescue you with wine and a Movie of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. However, once again, she addresses those cliches via realistic discourse, demonstrating how they are a part of us and how, if we can face them, we can learn from them since ignoring them never helps. This is expressed subtextually in Lucy’s hoarding and Nick’s placing his feelings in a motel. They take action to remedy it because, like humans, they are self-aware enough to recognize the emotional significance of physical objects.
Yet, this is a shallow reading, and they will only comprehend what the process of renovating the hotel and museum is teaching them through a deeper reading. That’s really cool.
While Natalie Krinsky is reusing hetero-love tropes, her directing in The Broken Hearts Gallery is light and airy.
I am going to receive a lot of heat for this: I loathe the phrase “girl flicks”. That comes up every time a tale is told from the perspective of a female, and the movie is made to appear like this excessively fluffy thing that mirrors what an upper-class girl’s life is surely like. Isn’t this limiting your audience and creating false expectations? Isn’t that dangerous? I believe it is.
This film, while being a “chick picture,” is not poisonous. There’s no mistake about it: this is comfort food. Nonetheless, it is grounded enough to be generically applicable. Social media, our work schedule, and those rom-coms from the early 1990s and late 2000s have already moved us far from reality.
How much more harm do you want to inflict, particularly on women? Indeed, they deserve that poisonous positivism. Nonetheless, a pinky must exist on Earth since reality is not going away. And Krinsky easily maintains that equilibrium.
All of that being said, on a purely technical and personal level, I believe the film might have been cut shorter. Remember what I said about Krinsky recycling cliches? Indeed, she does it really well. A large portion of the film will fly by without your noticing. The character interactions are fantastic, particularly those between Lucy and her pals. They simply go together so wonderfully. The editing is flawless. I enjoyed it when someone from Lucy’s or Nick’s lives appeared to tell their break-up experiences. She nails the emotional beats flawlessly. In fact, one of them concerning Lucy’s mother made me cry (I cry a lot, I know).
Nevertheless, after the exes return and the will-they-won’t-they-end-up-together nonsense begins, it begins to meander. This is Krinsky’s debut film, so I’m sure she’ll handle it better in future efforts. Yet, because I like this film, I believe I must bring it to your attention. That’s all.
Geraldine Viswanathan and Dacre Montgomery’s performances are brilliantly backed by the film’s skilled cast.
Viswanathan’s energy level is undeniably high. She seemed to be swinging for the fences. But, in my honest view, it is meticulously calculated. And if you underdo it, Lucy will feel uncomfortable. She’ll feel borderline psychotic if you overdo it.
Yet, she depicts her in such a manner that she brings out all the acceptable and improper qualities of the character at the correct moment and in the right amount, making her as genuine as cinematically possible. Dacre’s acting is exactly the contrary, and for a reason that his character expressly explains. He does, however, emanate charisma, love, efficiency, and a healthy dose of practicality. When the two meet, it’s too adorable to overlook. Again, not in a haphazard manner. It’s natural. They even manage to sell some of the most cringeworthy situations as if they were nothing. Even to an anti-hetero-romantic like myself!
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Molly Gordon and Phillipa Soo are outstanding. Their dialogue delivery is mind-bogglingly accurate. And I like that they didn’t shy away from demonstrating that their chemistry with Lucy is far superior to Lucy’s chemistry with Nick, even though Nick has only been in the plot for a fraction of the time the girls have spent together. So everything makes sense, and I really enjoyed it. The sequences where they counsel Lucy or terrify Lucy’s boyfriends with the assistance of Dales (who portrays Jeff excellently) are quite touching to me. I don’t say that lightly, but that’s friendship aspirations! Arturo is equally effortless.
His line delivery, like everyone else in the film, is fantastic, but he flips between emotions so quickly that it gives you what I can only describe as a delicious whiplash. His interactions with Geraldine, Dacre, and Megan Ferguson are all quite different, yet they all seem distinct and so lovely.
The Final Word
Spend some time to yourself. Assemble your favorite folks (after ensuring that they are well and such because COVID-19 isn’t finished yet). Grab some healthy meals that won’t bother your stomach. Furthermore, check out the Broken Hearts Gallery. It makes no difference if you’re single. It makes no difference if you’re in a relationship. I am confident that you will enjoy it. Am I being overly optimistic? What does it matter whether I am? I’m going to let myself be. It made me feel great, and I owe it to Natalie Krinsky, Geraldine Viswanathan, Dacre Montgomery, and the rest of the cast and crew.
That gave me a warm, fuzzy sensation in my often chilly heart and validated my beliefs about not allowing my terrible experiences to hold me down and instead using them to construct a better path since I wouldn’t be who I am without those particular experiences.