“The Broken Hearts Gallery,” the feature film debut from writer/director Natalie Krinsky, is the perfect pandemic comfort film. The film follows Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan), a young art gallery assistant who collects items from all of her previous heartbreaks. Her best friends and roommates Amanda (Molly Gordon) and Nadine (Phillipa Soo) try to support her in her collecting while attempting to nudge her to start shedding the nicknacks of relationships past. After a devastating break-up, Lucy meets Nick (Dacre Montgomery). Nick has his own woes as he is struggling to finance his dream hotel. Lucy begins helping Nick with his hotel and uses his balcony space to create the Broken Hearts Gallery, a place where people bring items from past relationships. The film also has Utkarsh Amburdkar as Max, Lucy’s big ex, Arturo Castro as Marcos, Nick’s friend, Megan Ferguson as Randy, Marcos’s hilarious wife, and the one and only Bernadette Peters as Eva Woolf, an art gallery curator.
In times of pandemics and racial injustice and parts of the world literally on fire, it is becoming more and more difficult to escape the never-ending cycle of doom. But “The Broken Hearts Gallery” swiftly shifts your focus from the gloom of the world and has you captivated by its characters from the get-go. Viswanathan is an excellent Lucy: snarky, smart, self-assured, insecure, and hopeful. Knowing some of the character’s eccentricities and trauma, Viswanathan lets Lucy be a complicated, complex person.
Montgomery, as the male lead, oozes charm and care. Many, like myself, saw Montgomery as mulleted-psychopath Billy in “Stranger Things.” In this film, Montgomery dives into the romantic comedy genre, understanding his importance in the story, while being a bit more than a stereotypical guy in a romantic comedy. Nick is very layered. Montgomery allows for Nick’s insecurities and optimism to peak through, allowing for his defenses to come down as the film progresses. Viswanathan and Montgomery make a great pair. They have Sally Albright/Harry Burns type banter, and I am here for that.
Meanwhile, the other big relationship in the film centers on BFFs Lucy, Nadine, and Amanda. Soo, before this film, was in a little known musical, I think it was called “Hamilton.” Seeing her not as a 17th century American history figure but as a hilarious, larger-than-life, stay-at-home model took me a moment to truly believe it was her. Soo is a chameleon and just inhabited Nadine from her first moments onscreen.
Soo and Gordon spend most of their time together onscreen. The two actresses play off of each other so well. You could believe that they are friends but their banter and shorthand. Gordon, known from films like “Booksmart,” “Life of the Party” and “Good Boys,” is a comedic gem. Her timing and delivery are unparalleled. It is no surprise. I loved “Booksmart” and thought that Gordon’s performance was tragically underappreciated.
When you get Soo, Gordon, and Vishwanathan together, it becomes cinematic magic. Their timing, the way that they are intune with one another, gives the film an authentic trio of friends. If there was a spin-off or miniseries about these three characters, I would watch it in a heartbeat.
Krinsky directs the heck out of this film. Her writing is sharp, sophisticated and honest. Each of these characters could be someone you meet in real life. Amanda, for example, was reading the Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff book “Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered,” and I immediately identified with that person. With a runtime of 108 minutes, there are moments when “The Broken Hearts Gallery” tends to veer off a bit. However, its charm and characters help realign the film to get it back on track.
“The Broken Hearts Gallery” is a feel-good rom-com that oozes with charm and wit. In today’s world, we need a little fun, a little love, and a little hope. And “The Broken Hearts Gallery” is the perfect place to go.
You will like this movie if you enjoy the following: romantic comedies, movies set in New York, films like “Set It Up,” shows like “Love Life” or moments in life such as sneaking a bottle of wine into a showing of “Lady Bird” and crying at the end.
“The Broken Hearts Gallery” is now out in theaters. Follow Shuffle Online on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Love our work? Buy us a coffee on Ko-Fi!
Featured image credit: Sony
Morgan Roberts (she/her) was by films and television. She spent many nights watching “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” or whatever the family rented from Blockbluster. Morgan is particularly interested in cinematography, supporting female filmmakers and “Fleabag.” Outside of a deep love of film, Morgan is passionate about mental health advocacy, gender equality and true crime podcasts. Morgan also contributes to In Their Own League.