The Broken Hearts Gallery – Film Review
by Hugh Maguire
Director: Natalie Krinsky
Writer: Natalie Krinsky (screenplay)
Stars: Geraldine Viswanathan, Dacre Montgomery, Utkarsh Ambudkar
This would make a good date movie – perhaps a second date when you may already have sussed out the humour level of your intended partner – and only if you are somewhere between 15 and 25. On the other hand, on a rainy duvet afternoon it could go down comfortably too – good looking people, in good looking settings, everything coming out amicably. Essentially an extended version of 1990’s sitcom, Friends with a smattering of current diversity protocols, the odd Lesbian kiss, regular references to masturbation and vibrators, dramatic New York shots worthy of Woody Allen, as well as a steady consumption of whiskey which out drinks Doc Boone in Stagecoach (1939).
Lucy Gulliver is the heroine, a sometimes irritating and perhaps self-satisfied presence on screen, is an abject hoarder who retains numerous small mementoes of her many dates and life’s encounters, a not uncommon scenario. And indeed in the successful novel A Gentleman in Moscow, the narrator notes how we come to hold our dearest possessions more closely than our dearest friends.’ Literally falling out of an uptown art gallery, Lucy imposes herself on the off-the-Richter scale good looking and likeable, Nick, who improbably is developing a high-end hipster hotel in which she establishes a gallery for the heartbroken who can deposit their own mementoes. In fact, Nick is further like Count Rostov, in being able to go through his bedroom clothes closet to a secret room, for yet more whiskey! The ups and downs of getting their joint enterprise off the ground and the manner in which Nick and Lucy learn to let go is the basis of the simple narrative.
Funnily enough, the idea is not as quirky and ‘right on’ as the writer and director may think. There is actually a long-established Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb which explores the same thing. It essentially collects and displays objects from former lovers and the associated stories of break up and heartbreak.
There are deeper questions in the film, on why we hold onto things and while these depths are hinted at they are not explored too deeply or disturbingly. No heart is seriously broken throughout the movie and in spite of some near misses and misunderstandings, the affluent beautiful people find their inevitable happy ending. Benefiting from some good comic timing and teamwork, it provides respite from our pervading COVID gloom.