The Broken Hearts Gallery
The Broken Hearts Gallery (2020) movie review
The Broken Heart Gallery is a dramedy following Lucy, who after a devastating break-up, starts an art gallery where people can come and leave things that they have collected from their own past relationships. I try not to just reword the IMDb plot summary, but sometimes it is considerably better than the one I keep rewriting… Anyway, the quasi-rom-com is the feature debut of writer/director Natalie Krinsky, who had previously worked as a writer on series like Gossip Girl (2007-2012) ad Red Band Society (2014-2015).
We needed something to go see, and while a second watch of Nolan is needed to fully understand the story and finish deafening us, Broken Hearts Gallery looked like a good idea for a review, since we are still back and forth about Mulan for oh so many reasons. To our great surprise, Broken Hearts Gallery is kinda good! It has its problems, and most of them stem from the romance side of the screenplay, but in the end, I think this was one of the better films I’ve seen in 2020 so far! (Considering that the list isn’t exactly overflowing with releases…)
Right off the bat, the dialogue bothered me. It was fun and witty, but almost unrealistically so; the kind of banter that can only come from a sharp writer or a quick thinker, not every character in the movie. Fortunately, this quickly fades into hilariously realistic dialogue that, while still unrealistically fitty, feels grounded and relatable. Krinsky does an incredible job laying out genuine characters, and by the end of the film you feel more of a connection with them for it. This goes beyond dialogue even, as the choices the characters make all seem to be in the vein of who they are, not just what can move the story along.
Starting your characters off strong is exactly how to set up character arcs, which is another highlight of Broken Hearts Gallery. The film does follow the structure of your typical rom-com, to a predictable fault even, but it keeps the character development for Lucy at the forefront of the story. In order to accomplish her goals she needs to learn to grow, and having her goals be more than just a guy was refreshing. There is a guy, Nick, but not only does he need to grow as a character, but the two act as the other’s inciting incident without needing to use each other to grow. I know it’s common for characters in romance to learn on each other for inspiration, and that is certainly the case. However this film digs a little deeper than that, especially when it comes to Lucy’s character.
Now as I mentioned, the film is formulaic. Just self-aware enough to get off easy? Yeah I think so. But if you are looking for your indie comedy-drama to have a totally fresh story, well you won’t find that here. A fresh spin on a worn out story? Sure! But that doesn’t keep the film from being totally predictable. On top of that, as clever as this film is, there is one element added to the film entirely to create tension. I get it, but not only does it not really work for the character, the tension could exist on its own the way that Lucy and Nick are written. None of these things broke the film for me, and there are certainly more bright moments of originality than there are dull, predictable ones, but that didn’t keep me form knowing almost every story beat in the film.
Okay let’s get back to positives here, because this film is really fun, and I give whatever credit is left from the screenplay to the cast who got to present the story to us. Geraldine Viswanathan does a really solid job, and in lesser hands, the character Lucy wouldn’t be nearly as likable. She is an extrovert in the worst sense, and typically that personality is reserve for the friend role. Nope, not this time! And Geraldine does a fine job! And since we are flipping the script and having the girl be more outgoing, we have Dacre Montgomery as Nick, who is significantly more reserved, but no less on par with his co-star. Who would have guessed Billy from Stranger Things (2016-) would be such a heartthrob? But let’s be real, the humor almost never comes from the leads in these movies, which is where Molly Gordon, Phillipa Soo, and Arturo Castro come on. These three are absolutely hilarious, with Gordon and Arturo stealing literally every scene they are in.
As far as the rest of the film goes, it’s all mostly positive. The pacing was pretty great, often leaving a wonderfully awkward feeling that you can only find from good dramedies; the song choices for the soundtrack were solid; the editing was often a bit typical, but not inconsistently so; and the themes in the film stood strong over the comedy without stealing the spotlight. The film never turns from funny to serious, it simply is funny throughout, and serious throughout, never feeling over-the-top whimsical or depressingly dramatic.
In the end I do feel like plenty are going to get on this film for being formulaic and predictable. It totally is, and I wish it had a more unique structure myself. However if I take when I am given and asked to look at how much I enjoyed it for what it is, well I have to be honest and say that Broken Hearts Gallery is a really fun time! The film tells a meaningful story that chooses to focus on positive character development and themes over your typical relationship drama, which in the end helps create a more original feel than most rom-coms that I have seen. But I would watch this film for the best friends alone! So if you either want a good comedy, a good drama, or a good rom-com, well you could do a lot worse than this gem! 7/10.
So The Broken hearts Gallery? Did ya see it? What did you think? And what is your favorite indie rom-com? Be sure to leave a like or a comment and let me know! And if you liked this review and you want to read more like it, let us know in the comments what you want us to review next!
-review by Ryan Prince