The Broken Hearts Gallery
Natalie Krinsky's The Broken Hearts Gallery is addictively charming, smart and sweet, capitalizing on a simple premise with authenticity and heart from its leads and supporting cast.
First time director Natalie Krinsky makes her debut behind the lens with The Broken Hearts Gallery, a film she also wrote, which stars Geraldine Viswanathan (Blockers) and Dacre Montgomery (Stranger Things). The Broken Hearts Gallery is a romantic comedy that’s smart and sweet, excelling because of its talented leads and their supporting cast, making for a film that’s more memorable than one might think and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan) is an energetic and optimistic woman living with her friends in New York City. She has dreams of becoming her own art director, but is recently dumped by her supposed boyfriend and fired from her dream job, essentially killing her aspirations and causing her to take a real good look at her life, more specifically her relationships with others.
She has an obsession with keeping little trinkets from past relationships and never really getting rid of them, which creates literal baggage in her room of chaos, but also adds emotional weight to her life as she never really seems to get over her heart breaks.
This all changes when she accidentally meets Nick (Dacre Montgomery), unintentionally getting into the backseat of his car, thinking that he’s a Lfyt driver when in fact he was just a guy stuck at a red-light in his car.
After brief conversation, the two part ways and seemingly go about their regular lives, until coming together yet again, only this time exchanging words and soon becoming good friends.
Nick is in the process of renovating a rustic hotel that he is passionately turning into something uniquely his own, with little money and mostly the help of friends. After showing Lucy his prospects and discovering her own weird attachment to items from her past, the two end up pinning up a tie from her latest breakup onto the wall, inadvertently creating a passionate flare up for Lucy to express herself in the form of art on a wall.
What starts out as a simple gesture of grieving and moving forward quickly turns into the breakout that Lucy has been chasing her whole life.
The Broken Hearts Gallery is a film that might sound corny from the tagline and synopsis and even a once over of the trailer, but the film quickly rids itself of genre cliches and crutches by crafting worthwhile characters that are always engaging and exciting to be around.
Watching Lucy interact with her two best friends usually ends up in laughter and discovery as we dig deeper into their relationships with each other.
Geraldine Viswanathan is a red-hot ball of energy that’s constantly shooting off in every single direction, which makes her character quirky and bubbly. The initial warmup makes Lucy almost come off as annoying, but the more you spend time with her the more you start to discover what drives her and what holds her back, which makes for a journey of the heart and soul.
Dacre Montgomery‘s Nick is the polar opposite of Lucy (no shocker there), bottling up his emotions and instead facing life with little, if not zero baggage. He keeps things close to the chest and doesn’t really believe in letting anyone in, because he has clearly been burned in the past, which is something the film doesn’t dwell on, but instead reveals when appropriate without being overly dramatic.
Yes, The Broken Hearts Gallery is familiar and safe, taking comfort in twisting a story about bringing baggage into any relationship or bringing the past into the present/future without ever really letting it go and giving someone a fair chance. And that’s okay, because the film’s ability to make familiar feel fresh is a shining example of just how important a good script is, especially when surrounded by such talent.
Natalie Krinsky‘s direction is sound, never lingering on a moment for too long and knowing just when to go in for the kiss or hold back for the dialog. Her direction pairs well with the script, which she wrote with the same discipline and focus, which gives the film an advantage when compared to other romantic dramas that feel dated or told.
I remember sighing when reading the synopsis for the film and then watching the trailer and thinking that maybe it could have the potential to be good, but I never thought it could turn out great. I say that only because I feel that romantic comedies almost always fold when the pressure is applied, collapsing in a predictable fashion that always feels like cutting twenty minutes off the end could’ve wrapped things up quicker, somehow lessening the blow of feeling like you’re watching something that you’ve already seen.
But The Broken Hearts Gallery never falls into that pit that most film’s seem to be unable to climb back out of. Just when you think the film is going to start wrapping things up, it jumps into another scene that betters the overall experience.
Director/writer Natalie Krinsky builds the relationship between Lucy and Nick slowly and realistically, never pushing the friendship until it feels like a natural progression. This gives us plenty of laughs and a steady stream of relationship problems that allow both characters to bounce off of each other in a way that utilizes the talents of both Viswanathan and Montgomery.
The Broken Hearts Gallery is smart, sweet and charming in ways that will surely impress you. It’s one of the better films that I have seen over this never-ending summer of COVID and a movie that I would have no problem recommending to those looking for something that’s approachable and satisfying in its exploration of relationships and the mess that always comes with them. Krinsky’s ability to explore beyond the surface is refreshing and yet light-hearted and fun, making for a film that’s reflective and true, yet almost always a blast.