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A-Ron’s New Movie Reviews: “The Broken Hearts Gallery” (2020)

Executive producer Selena Gomez and first time writer/director Natalie Krinsky deliver a throwback to the romantic comedies of the 1980’s. Krinsky travels down a well-worn romantic comedy path, but still retains a freshness to her film including her witty dialogue and unique plot, that asks the question…What if you saved a souvenir from every relationship you’ve ever been in? Geraldine Viswanathan who is our lead character, gives a knockout performance as Lucy. Geraldine who I completely fell for, is my new celebrity crush. She is beautiful, adorable, sweet and her comic timing is spot on. She has all the makings to be the next Mindy Kaling, oozing with full of charm, wit and spirit. “Stranger Things” star, Dacre Montgomery as Nick is about as sweet and kind as it gets. Yet he’s never the bland, timid guy who populates so many similar romantic comedies. Another refreshing element to Krinsky’s script is in seeing Lucy and Nick slowly grow closer and not just fall for each other right away. Their journey to getting there is tremendously fun and develops naturally as they get to know one another. I loved this movie a lot and the reason why “The Broken Hearts Gallery” is so effective, is that of it’s star Geraldine Viswanathan who steals the movie with a winning and lovable performance. But it’s also because of writer and director Natalie Krinsky who shot a beautifully looking film, that embraces the standard tropes found in romantic comedies, while she adds in her own personal mix and style. 

All romantic comedies have what industry professionals call a meet cute. It’s a charming first encounter between two characters that leads to the development of a romantic relationship between them. First-time writer and director Natalie Krinsky’s film, “The Broken Hearts Gallery” is a throwback rom-com of the 80’s. Yet we know it’s of present day because the films meet cute happens in an Uber. 

Even though “The Broken Hearts Gallery” travels down that well-worn romantic comedy path, it still retains a freshness to it. Especially in it’s unique plot, that asks the question….what if you saved a souvenir from every relationship you’ve ever been in? Well just ask the always unique Lucy (played by Geraldine Viswanathan), a twenty something art gallery assistant living in New York City, who also happens to be an emotional hoarder. She tells her roommates Nadine (Phillipa Soo) and Amanda (Molly Gordon) that she’s found true love with Max (Utkarsh Ambudkar), who’s about a decade older and as Lucy continues to gush about him. She heads off into the day, as Nadine says, “She seems so happy”. Ugh…not for long. 

Cut to that night, with Lucy looking dazed and devastated after she was dumped by Max and fired from her job in rapid succession. Lucy climbs into the backseat of her Uber ride and pours her heart out to the driver, who as it turns out isn’t a Uber driver but a guy named Nick (played by Dacre Montgomery from “Stranger Things”), who just happened to pull up at the moment Lucy was expecting her ride (now that’s a meet cute!). 

When Lucy enters the apartment and tells Nadine and Amanda she’s been dumped, they spring into action in giving her all of the essentials after a break-up. Draping a blanket around Lucy, giving her chips and dip, wine and a DVD copy of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. But despite their best efforts, Lucy licks herself in her bedroom for days, keeping a certain battery operated friend close by, not showering and surrounded by an alarming number of souvenirs from her past romances. She’s a relationship hoarder. Yes it’s weird, but Lucy is so darn charming, likable and earnest, that we just start rooting for her to break free from all those no good jerks from her past.

Soon after Lucy gets a second chance encounter with Nick, as he shows Lucy an old rundown YMCA that he’s turning into a boutique hotel. The work-in-progress hotel becomes the site for Lucy’s impromptu art exhibit, called what else? “The Broken Heart Gallery”. The gallery is of objects from fellow “emotional hoarders”, who can finally let go of their unhealthy attachments to items from relationships that have died.

Geraldine Viswanathan who is our lead character Lucy is such an easy character to love and adore. She isn’t afraid to be open with others, to share when she’s in pain and in making it clear what her feelings are towards them. She’s a bit rough around the edges, but she embraces it and is the real deal for anyone who will take the time to notice. Lucy is easy to love, because of the knockout performance from Geraldine Viswanathan, who comes fresh off her scene-stealing turn as the intrepid high school newspaper reporter in HBO’s “Bad Education” and the racy teen comedy “Blockers”. 

Geraldine who I completely fell for, is my new celebrity crush. She is beautiful, adorable, sweet and her comic timing is spot on. Geraldine has all the makings to be the next Mindy Kaling, oozing with full of charm, wit and spirit. Geraldine is perfectly-cast as the offbeat, hopelessly romantic New York art gallery assistant with big dreams. She’s a familiar character in a lot of ways and there are certainly no shortage of movies about lovelorn New Yorkers with a creative spirit. But she becomes someone wholly new as the Australian-born actress has an energy all her own, which makes it easy for us to fall for Lucy and her numerous romantic mishaps.

“Broken Hearts Gallery” leans heavily on Geraldine to carry the film, but she is always up to the task. It’s a sparkling and winning performance from an actor who has already done notable work, but is still in the early stages of having a booming career. Surprisingly, given his bad boy role on “Stranger Things”, Dacre Montgomery as Nick is about as sweet and kind as it gets. Yet he’s never the bland, timid guy who populates so many similar romantic comedies.

It’s refreshing to see Lucy and Nick slowly grow closer and not just fall for each other right away. Their journey to getting there is tremendously fun and develops naturally as they get to know one another. We learn who these two are at the same time that we do, a smart approach that hasn’t happened too often since Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise” movies or the Barack and Michelle Obama film “Southside With You”. It also pulls from one of the great all-time romantic comedies, “When Harry Met Sally” for a bit of inspiration. Using individual stories of past break-ups, some told in documentary-style interviews by friends of Lucy and Nick’s, but also strangers who have come into the gallery.

Writer and director Natalie Krinsky delivers a throwback to the 1980’s style romantic comedies. At the same time displaying a fine ear for witty dialogue and pop culture references that are fast and funny. I loved this movie a lot and the reason why “The Broken Hearts Gallery” is so effective, is that of it’s star Geraldine Viswanathan who steals the movie with a winning and lovable performance. 

But it’s also because of writer and director Natalie Krinsky who shot a beautifully looking film, that embraces the standard tropes found in romantic comedies, while she adds in her own personal mix and style. In the words of executive producer Selena Gomez (yep that Selena Gomez), “The Broken Hearts Gallery brings love and laughs into a world that needs it now more than ever”. Honestly during all that’s happened and is still happening this awful year, what more could we ask for? 

GRADE: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)

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About Aron Medeiros

Aron Medeiros
Aron Medeiros is the movie critic for Maui Watch. He lives on the beautiful island of Maui and is also a member of the elite Hawaii Film Critics Society and an active cast member of the NerdWatch pod cast. He is a 2003 graduate from King Kekaulike High School. His favorite film of all time is “Back To The Future”. He has worked at Consolidated Kaahumanu Theaters for nearly 13 years as a Sales Associate and making his way up to Assistant Manager. He has loved movies since he was a young boy, where his Grandfather started his love for the movies.

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