The Broken Hearts Gallery has an adorable set up. We meet three best friends, in a high school bedroom, sorting through the remains of a dead relationship. The banter is witty and fresh. The actresses, Geraldine Viswanathan, Phillipa Soo, and Molly Gordon, sparkle. And the premise is inventive—built on a young woman who memorializes relationships via quirky keepsakes: retainers, used Solo cups, doorknobs, neckties, and a collection of chachkies that would impress several grandmas.
How can you not smile? You will and you’ll smile frequently. Viswanathan is Lucy Gulliver, a New York gallery assistant who is on the verge of something. Perhaps it’s a great career. Maybe a big failure or a dreamy romance. It could be a bad breakup or a complete breakdown. No matter how life happens to Lucy or in what order; you’ll know it’s going to be hilarious.
Let’s begin with a combination of breakup and breakdown, and subsequently unemployment. Sounds like the perfect time for a rom-com meet-cute. We get exactly that in the back of a Lyft that’s not a Lyft, where a drunken Lucy meets a stressed out Nick (Dacre Montgomery). Nick is an entrepreneur who’s building his own boutique hotel with very little money but a lot of help from his friends. Once these two collide they keep bumping heads until they finally put them together to create the Broken Hearts Gallery of the title.
Writer/director, Natalie Krinsky sets this movie up so well. While dealing with the psychology of love on multiple levels and how difficult it is to let go, Krinsky still maintains a steady stream of giggles (and good music). Soo’s Nadine and Gordon’s Amanda each have their own love woes, which gives them more shape than the typical best friend shaped blobs in many rom-coms. Viswanathan as an emotional hoarder and ultimate awkward heroine is made for center stage. I would watch her in anything. The dialog between the three is deadly observant, as are their interactions with the world. This is what it’s like to be brainy, artsy, and single in the city right now—if life were a comedy.
Funnier, still is the fact the women are central here. This is a romantic comedy that is all about women and their growth. Cameos from Bernadette Peters (yes, more please) and Sheila McCarthy reinforce this vibrance. The men, however, are like the Lyft in the meet-cute—shiny vehicles to get the women from one place to another. Which, I’ll admit, I’m okay with.
Yet, as adorable as The Broken Hearts Gallery is, it’s not quite satisfying. The jokes are perfectly placed but they don’t enhance your connection to the story. The characters are vividly drawn but they remain at a distance and the gap doesn’t quite close. The movie feels like window shopping but never getting to wear anything home. I’d rather these characters stayed with me longer.
In the end, there’s so much to like here but love is another story.