Review: The Broken Hearts Gallery

Score: B-

Director: Natalie Krinsky

Cast: Geraldine Viswanathan, Dacre Montgomery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Bernadette Peters

Running Time: 108 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

It's felt like an eternity since we got a romantic comedy that didn't go straight to a streaming service. Netflix is riddled with lousy ones. Palm Springs was fantastic but had a fantastical premise. A straight-down-the-middle quality rom-com feels like a rarity. Sadly The Broken Hearts Gallery isn't quite that movie. It's overlong, riddled with cliches, and brings back "Toronto trying to pass as New York City" as a setting. But it's relentlessly charming. Even with its flaws, it feels like a movie that someone poured their heart and soul into, not just filler.

Geraldine Viswanathan continues her ascent as the effervescent but emotionally stunted Lucy, who keeps mementos of all her failed relationships. A drunken outburst at a gallery opening costs her a job and a boyfriend (Utkarsh Ambudkar). Her meet-cute with Nick (Dacre Montgomery, last seen tormenting the kids on Stranger Things) happens in a very 2020 way: mistaking his car for her rideshare. He's, of course, a good guy who is heartbroken by his ex-girlfriend and has dreams of his own. Despite denying being a hipster, these dreams involve turning an old YMCA into a boutique hotel with an "authentic" bar. (That sound you heard was my eyes rolling back into my skull.)

Thus their friendship and budding romance are sealed: She'll help him design his hotel for free if he lets her use it for gallery space. Thanks to a large social media push that's never quite explained, Lucy gets all sorts of lovelorn New Yorkers to share the detritus they've kept from past romances, letting go of their items and telling their stories on camera. That last bit feels directly lifted from When Harry Met Sally; not that there's anything wrong with that.

Where the film falters is in being predictable but not tidy. At one point I turned to my wife, shocked there were still thirty minutes to go. We immediately guessed the remaining setbacks that would cause our couple to break up and reunite. But because Viswanathan and Montgomery have such chemistry, this was easily forgivable. It also helps that the film has an excellent supporting cast, including Arturo Castro as Nick's best bud, and Molly Gordon and Phillipa Soo as Lucy's roommates. The latter is especially terrific as a serial womanizer.

There's nothing particularly special about The Broken Hearts Gallery. But the comforting rom-com rhythms and its dynamite cast make it worth seeing.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.