Directed by: Natalie Krinsky
Premise: Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan) is an art gallery assistant who hoards memorabilia of her many love affairs. After her most recent breakup, Lucy puts her collection to use by creating an art exhibit where visitors can display souvenirs of past heartbreaks.
What Works: The Broken Hearts Gallery is a romantic comedy with a unique hook. The conceit of the movie emphasizes the way people can obsessively hold onto heartbreak and the necessity of letting go and moving on. This idea is mostly played for laughs but the heartbreak of the film comes across earnestly. Lucy, an aspiring art gallery curator, has saved trinkets from her many love affairs, so many that her living space comes across as a museum of failed relationships. In an effort to shake up her love life and kick-start her career, Lucy puts her collection on display and accepts donations from the public. While the background of Lucy’s collection is mostly cute and funny, some of the donors have more difficult stories to share and the movie gets to something substantive about love and loss. The Broken Hearts Gallery is a great deal of fun to watch in large part because of the central performance by Geraldine Viswanathan as Lucy. This is Viswanathan’s show and she carries the movie. The actress allows Lucy to be goofy and embarrassing but the protagonist is also smart and Viswanathan is a charming and charismatic screen presence. The Broken Hearts Gallery also features a number of colorful supporting characters, namely Lucy’s roommates played by Molly Gordon and Phillipa Soo. These women have terrific comic timing and their shared scenes with Viswanathan are many of the best moments in the film.
What Doesn’t: The Broken Hearts Gallery is at its weakest whenever the movie falls back on romantic comedy clichés and contrivances. That’s most evident in the blooming romance between Lucy and Nick, the hotel owner whose space becomes the site of the gallery. Nick, who is played by Dacre Montgomery, is a flat and uninteresting character. The idea may have been to make Nick the opposite of Lucy, who is goofy and idealistic, but the filmmakers confuse dullness for stability and Nick comes across as a bland and generic leading man. When The Broken Hearts Gallery tries to fulfill the romantic comedy template it comes across forced and out of character with the rest of the movie, especially the breakup and climactic grand gesture.
DVD extras: Gag reel, featurettes, and previews.
Bottom Line: The premise of The Broken Hearts Gallery is an interesting one and Geraldine Viswanathan is eminently watchable. The film is hobbled by romantic comedy clichés but it’s a likable film that ought to be enjoyed by its intended audience.
Episode: #839 (February 14, 2021)