Friday, September 11, 2020

The Broken Hearts Gallery: Movie Review

Genuinely funny and real empathy for the characters.
I’m having a curious relationship with The Broken Hearts Gallery. I have forgiven a lack of realism in romantic comedies in the past (because you just have to), but it’s particularly irksome here. The main premise is unrelatable and unlikable and yet I like everything else about the movie. The film has empathy for its characters, it's only fair that the audience does too.   2020

Directed by: Natalie Krinsky

Screenplay by: Natalie Krinsky

Starring: Geraldine Viswanathan, Dacre Montgomery

Geraldine Viswanathan stars as Lucy, a die-hard romantic who struggles so much with getting over exes and heartbreak that she keeps mementos from all her past relationships. A whole room-full and a whole life-full of crazy, stalker mementos. There are, however, two and a half saving graces to this.

First, Viswanathan is hilarious so no matter how unreasonable Lucy’s story is, she’s selling it. She and her equally funny roommates (Molly Gordon and Phillipa Soo) find every moment for comedy and generate real laughs. Second, most of the other characters think Lucy is crazy too, which helps give us level-headed audience members a much needed touch point to reality. And the half saving grace is that Lucy actually has a good reason for being the way she is, but the film decided not to reveal it until the end. I guess they wanted a twist, but personally I think a likable heroine right from the start would have served them better.

The unreasonable premise meets Nick (Dacre Montgomery) who happens to be the perfect leading man for such a romantic comedy. Nick is single and somewhat mysteriously intends to stay single. He also owns a start-up business, trying to turn a run-down space into a viable hotel. Meanwhile Lucy is an unemployed crazy person after a break-up meltdown gets her fired. Their meet-cute, though, is great. She’s crazy but hilarious and he seems normal and then becomes endearingly empathetic. The look in his eyes when he realizes he could just help a woman having a bad day, speaks volumes and carries the emotional weight for the rest of the film.

I’m still not buying the overall broken heart gallery premise, but I laughed a lot. It’s genuinely funny, earns the few emotional turns they go for and it’s modern. Diversity is so easily achieved you have to wonder how the rest of Hollywood makes it so difficult. And there’s a refreshing lack of heteronormativity. The lead characters happen to be straight, but her roommate’s a lesbian, and most importantly, there is no implied straightness in the broken heart gallery. People are just people, love is just love, and ultimately, that’s what won me over.