• Nate Adams

Review: Charming 'The Broken Hearts Gallery' hits the sweet spots


Courtesy of Sony

If you didn’t see “Blockers” or “Bad Education,” you’ll understand the hype around actress Geraldine Viswanathan whose hilarious performance in “The Broken Hearts Gallery” should propel her on everyone’s must-watch list.


Viswanathan shines in writer and director Natalie Krinsky’s fun romantic comedy about finding peace in heartbreak. A story about reinvigorating passion, and letting go of past relationships. In a nod to “When Harry Met Sally,” the film incorporates individuals monologuing at the camera about their traumatic breakups, which often results in hilarious, not-to-be-missed, hijinks.


Though plenty of nods to Nora Ephron’s body of work exist in “The Broken Hearts Gallery,” there’s a sense of identity that Viswanathan brings to the table, along with an honest performance from Dacre Montogmery, that makes the film worth investing in. This despite its obvious parallels to existing romantic comedies and not so subtle, but easily predictable chain of events. In this case, it’s not how you finish (you’ll know how the movie ends before the opening credits roll) but how we get there.


That starts with the opening prologue where “8-ish years ago,” Lucy (Viswanathan) confesses to keeping a garbage bag full of trinkets and “souvenirs” from past, troubled, relationships to best friends Amanda (Molly Gordon) and Nadine (Phillipa Soo). It’s a coping mechanism more than anything, and she collects items that have caused her heartbreak as a means of closure.


Present day Lucy, an aspiring curator working under Eva Woolf (Bernadette Peters), a major gallery owner in New York City, seems to be in a stable and healthy relationship with Max (Utkarsh Ambudkar) - who also works for Eva - until she isn’t. As luck would have it, she accidentally stumbles into the car of Nick (Montgomery) who she mistakes for an Uber driver, but he was in the wrong place at the right time. It’s a chance encounter that, of course, leads to an interesting relationship. Despite troubling financial woes, Nick is working diligently on getting his passion project - a boutique hotel called “The Chloe” - open and ready for business, meanwhile Lucy just hatched an idea for her next pitch: the titular Broken Hearts Gallery where people from all over the world can submit items they’ve collected from their ex’s to display proudly.


Nowadays, in the world of social media and hashtags, the Gallery immediately takes off, becoming an overnight, viral sensation. You’ll have to suspend your disbelief on how much product Lucy takes in, but the idea and execution of a literal Broken Hearts Gallery is brilliant. A narrative feature that, in the realm of thousands of romantic comedies, stands out among the pack.


Part of that is the relationships, as Lucy’s squad are a unique pairing: Gordon’s Amanda is obsessed with murder and has a mute of a boyfriend named Jeff (Nathan Dale) who literally sits in a cone of silence; whereas Soo’s Nadine is on the prowl for love too, searching high and low for her next lover. Throw in Montgomery - who excelled in the live action reboot of “Power Rangers” (I said what I said) - and his best friend Marcos (Arther Castro) who's helping build “The Chloe” and Krinsky has assembled a quartet of noteworthy rising stars, allowing “The Broken Hearts Gallery” to hit many sweet spots.


The film understands the romantic comedy troupes it’s poking fun at, but does so with gleaming sarcasm and an attitude that’s endearing. Not only does it manage to come out on the other side looking slick and fresh, but leaves you with a giant smile slapped on your face and heart still intact.


Grade: B+


THE BROKEN HEARTS GALLERY will open in theaters (where they are open) starting Friday September 11th.


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