Geraldine Viswanathan is who we’ve been waiting for. Starring in writer/director Natalie Krinsky’s new romantic comedy The Broken Hearts Gallery, Viswanathan (Hala, Bad Education) takes a comedic turn as Lucy, a spunky 26-year-old New Yorker and borderline hoarder.
Surrounded by a diverse, comedically in-tune cast of supporting actors (Utkarsh Ambudkar, Phillipa Soo, Molly Gordon), the charming leading lady does Krinsky’s script justice. Although it follows a tried-and-true formula, the characters make this a refreshing modern romance.
While most people line their bookshelves with photos, knick knacks or ticket stubs from a first date, art gallery assistant Lucy saves everything from every romantic relationship. They’re momentos of what she went through, even when they remind her of heartbreak. It isn’t until she meets Nick (Dacre Montgomery) that she takes these items out of her apartment bedroom and puts them on display as a pop-up art gallery in his soon-to-be-hotel.
The visually rich film full of neon and eclectic art follows Lucy and Nick as they get to know each other and talk about their past, present and future. It’s both self-aware and sincere, a wink to the audience that this is, indeed, following tropes of montages and grand gestures, but there’s enough truth in it to make it seem plausible.
While the two main leads do not have quite the same chemistry as of their romcom predecessors, Lucy’s friend group more than makes up for it. With Soo and Gordon, the typically one-dimensional side characters are fully formed “friends” who serve just as big of a purpose as the romance. An entire sequence dedicated to a murder-kareoke themed birthday party is a particular highlight; again, both satirical and endearing.
Krinsky’s lighthearted film (with Executive Producer Selena Gomez) feels necessary during these difficult times – not only because it’s new and entertaining, but because it gives young adults something to take their mind off the state of the world and, thankfully, it isn’t bogged down by impending doom or death like most YA films in recent years (See: Five Feet Apart, Chemical Hearts, etc.). The film’s dramatic undercurrent is serious, but it never overshadows the humor. In casting Geraldine Viswanathan and co., that humor is always at the forefront, making The Broken Hearts Gallery a warm welcome back to the movies.