No doubt about it, the last 12 months have been tough. Without getting too doom-and-gloom about it, we are living through pretty terrible times – something that even the most smiley-faced optimist would surely agree with. Thank goodness, then, for the magic of the movies, tearing us away from the harsh realities of 2020-21 with films like Natalie Krinsky’s utterly wonderful The Broken Hearts Gallery.
Written by Krinsky while also serving as her directorial debut, this infinitely charming rom-com follows Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan) as she embarks on a cathartic journey to launch a gallery where people can leave trinkets from past relationships in the wake of her break-up with the handsome Max (Utkarsh Ambudkar). The humorous and uplifting film is best summarised by a powerful line of dialogue from the film: “pain, my dear, is inevitable. It’s what we do with it that matters”.
Of course, The Broken Hearts Gallery is a rom-com, so you can expect a budding romance at the heart of the film, here with Stranger Things’ Dacre Montgomery. But while there are certainly few surprises in store – the sweetly predictable narrative hardly reinvents the rom-com wheel – the film is easy to love thanks to a loveably adorable lead performance from Viswanathan. Following performances in this, Bad Education and Blockers, one can confidently expect to be seeing a lot more of her in the coming years; her performance here alone is enough to see that a star has been born. The supporting cast are equally endearing – Molly Gordon and Hamilton’s Phillipa Soo are delightful as Lucy’s friends.
Those expecting Citizen Kane from The Broken Hearts Gallery are surely going to go away disappointed. Here is a rom-com that certainly can’t be labelled inventive or particularly unique. But what it lacks in originality it more than makes up for in heart, which it supplies in great abundance thanks to Krinsky’s charming script, loveable characters and a winning lead performance from rising star Geraldine Viswanathan. As we enter 2021 and an end to our struggles still seems a way off, what we need is to be uplifted and inspired – and The Broken Hearts Gallery is one of the most entertaining and feel-good films of the last 12 months.