Current Issue #488

Film Review: The Broken Hearts Gallery

Natalie Krinsky’s début feature as writer/director/producer is a typically goofy romantic comedy featuring a fine, funny performance by Geraldine Viswanathan, an Aussie well on her way to being a star.

Viswanathan, part of the ensemble casts of Bad Education and the tawdrier Blockers and The Package, brings such heart, humour and energy here that she almost sees you past all the clichés and contrivances, and she certainly has more charm than her co-star Dacre Montgomery, another Aussie and one of that long list of players from Stranger Things.

Lucy Gulliver (Geraldine), a 20something living in that familiar Movieland New York, is an assistant at an art gallery where she’s dating her unpleasant co-worker Max (Utkarsh Ambudkar) and is mostly respectful to her formidable boss Eva Woolf (Bernadette Peters, no less). And then there’s a night from Hell: too many drinks at a big work event, a public dummy spit at the unfaithful Max, and she’s fired. As she would be too.

Somewhat preposterously, she drunkenly gets into a car thinking that it’s her Uber, even though Nick (Dacre) keeps telling her that it’s not, and fortunately he’s not a serial killer and he drives her home like nice guy that the role calls for. Lucy then spends weeks of misery being propped up by her BFFs/roomies Amanda (Molly Gordon) and Nadine (Philippa Soo), when in actuality she’d be forced to get a real job to pay the astronomical rent, and luckily she runs into Nick again. Even though, surely, NY is in fact larger than the four or five streets we only see here?

Ben’s expensively renovating an old hotel, Lucy writes a message of heartbreak on a wall and, later, it’s added to by others, and then suddenly ‘The Broken Heart Gallery’ (it seems to be singular) is born and strangers are bringing in mementos of their exes and sitting for video tales of how much they still hurt. And this is all happening as Lucy and Nick are surely falling for each other themselves, even getting together for a boozy karaoke version of (guess what?) Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.

Yes, it’s all pretty laboured, but you can’t stop watching Viswanathan in her first lead, and Krinsky manages some snappy lines (terminal hoarder Lucy is at one point called “Grey Gardens”) and sweet sequences. When Lucy arrives home broken up and miserable early on, Nadine, Amanda and Amanda’s inscrutable boyfriend Jeff (Nathan Dales) immediately fall into a well-worn, almost balletic routine where their bestie is quickly furnished with a blanket, chips, chocolate, wine and a DVD of Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind.

And yet, in the end, it’s still not exactly art.

The Broken Hearts Gallery (M) is in cinemas now.

Reviewer Rating

DM Bradley

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