Having your heart broken has got to be one of the worst feelings in the world. I remember the pain that I felt when some of my previous relationships came to an end. I felt sad, lost, hopeless, and depressed.
In The Broken Hearts Gallery, Lisa (Geraldine Viswanathan) feels all of these emotions, and many more, after her boyfriend Max (Utkarsh Ambudkar) breaks up with her when a work event goes horribly awry. As Lisa tries to get back home after an evening from hell, she meets Nick (Dacre Montgomery), a charming yet cynical hotel owner, who she mistakenly assumes is her LYFT driver. Being the nice guy Nick is, he drives Lisa home while listening to her vent about her evening and how she is so unlikely in love.
As Lisa spends the next few days lying around the house, eating ice cream and masturbating, her roommates Amanda (Molly Gordon) and Nadine (Phillipa Soo) attempt to get her to move on by encouraging her to get rid of her endless collection of mementos from her previous relationships. With the support of Amanda, Nadine, and now, Nick, Lucy slowly begins to let go of the past by creating the Broken Heart Gallery, a one of a kind art exhibit serving as a memorial to lost love.
The romantic comedy genre is one of my favorites genres. I watch hundreds of movies each year, and while there is no doubt a lot of excellent films, there is only a handful that I would watch over and over again. The Broken Hearts Gallery is one of those films. It is a whip-smart romantic comedy tackling heartbreak and presenting it in a fresh and inventive way.
The formula behind making a great romantic comedy seems relatively simple, and yet so few of them manage to stand the test the of time. The reason why The Broken Hearts Gallery is so effective is that writer/director Natalie Krinsky embraces most of the standard tropes found in romantic comedies while adding her own personal story into the mix. Krinsky manages to create a film poking fun at how silly people behave after a relationship comes to an end but showcases how relationships can impact and change our lives. Lucy saves various things from her relationships as a way to hold on to the past and remember the little details about the men she fell in love with.
This entire film is based around the simple concept that when we fall in love, we want to have some sort of keepsake reminding us of that person and why we fell in love. For some, that could be a t-shirt or a necklace, but for Lucy, she holds on to everything which we learn is only holding her back.
The idea of letting go of previous relationships is not a new topic by any means. Still, in The Broken Hearts Gallery, it is explored in such a way that it is not only entertaining but is almost universal, as shown through various interviews that pop up throughout the film.
One of the most important aspects of any rom-com is the cast. On top of showing off her writing and directing skills, Krinsky has put together the perfect cast to bring her irresistible love story to life. All of the supporting cast manages to bring something unique to the table and makes each of their characters stand out.
Gordon’s Amanda and Soo’s Nadine are hilarious as Lucy’s best friends. Their personalities are all so different from one another, and yet their friendship works because it seems so natural. The same can be said about Arturo Castro, who plays Nick’s best friend, Marcos. Everyone in this film brings their A-game and looks as though they are having the time of their lives.
This leads me to Geraldine Viswanathan and Dacre Montgomery, who are nothing short of brilliant. These two talented young actors have only been in a handful of projects but definitely have what it takes to become superstars in the acting world. The chemistry between them is second-to-none. You simply cannot help but fall in love with these characters because these two actors bring such authenticity through their performances. They two are just so damn charming together that I lost track of how many moments in the film where I found myself yearning to say, “aww,” out loud.
I have been championing Viswanathan’s work ever since I first saw her in Blockers. While I will fully admit I was not the biggest fan of that film, she was without question the best thing about it. Since then, she has gone on to star in several other projects, including Hala, TV’s Miracle Workers, and Bad Education. She has been great in everything she has done, but her performance in The Broken Hearts Gallery is her best performance yet. This is a very natural and genuine performance showcasing a wide array of emotions. She is absolutely terrific in this role, and I hope when people discover this film, she becomes a household name.
Films like Say, Anything, When Harry Meets Sally, Enough Said, Blast from the Past, 10 Things I Hate About You, and (500) Days of Summer are some prime examples of what I consider to be great, memorable romantic comedies. I believe The Broken Hearts Gallery is destined to join those films as this decade’s first great rom-com. I cannot recommend it enough.