Romantic comedies aren’t always my cup of tea. Too often they follow the same idea or story and it feels like they are just the same. But once a year, a little gem appears and takes me by storm. Last year, to me, that was the Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron lead Long Shot. This year, I am pretty sure that it will be The Broken Hearts Gallery. Is it perfect? No, but it just had so much heart and was hilarious. There’s something when you find a film that you go in thinking it will nothing more than a nice little comedy that will take your mind off your life but it becomes more and all of a sudden you find yourself dying of laughter one second and the next you are crying like a baby. That was The Broken Hearts Gallery for me.
Starring Geraldine Viswanathan (Blockers, Bad Education) and Dacre Montgomery (Stranger Things, Power Rangers), The Broken Hearts Gallery premise doesn’t reinvent the genre but the way the film is capable of distancing itself from others is clear from very early. Lucy (Viswanathan) always believed in love and is a glass-half-full kind of girl, but is incapable to find the one. After every relationship, she finds herself collecting mementos of said relationships. Nick (Montgomery) is the opposite, a pessimist who prefers to temper is expectations and be alone having his heartbroken. After another breakup, Lucy finds herself opening a gallery in Nick’s non-finished hotel where people can leave trinkets from past relationships. Just from the premise, it’s easy to see where the film is going but along the way, the film finds a way to surprise you and not take the route you are so used to.
I always hate how in romantic comedies where there is always the classic fight between the main girl and her girlfriends over something that I just know is there to create conflict that has no place. It’s something that I always find doesn’t have its place and The Broken Hearts Gallery does not fall in that trap. And honestly, thank god because the trio of Lucy, Amanda (Booksmart’s Molly Gordon) and Nadine (Hamilton’s Phillipa Soo) is probably one of my favourite friends’ trio in a rom-com. Together, Gordon, Soo and Viswanathan not only sell their friendship but they are all brilliant in their own way. Phillipa Soo to me was the biggest surprise. If you know me, you know how obsessed I have been with Hamilton and it’s original cast since the beginning. (And who doesn’t love The Schuyler Sisters.) But I was scared she would not be able to hold her own against two actresses that over the last years have proven how good they are with their comedic timing. Well, I was wrong to doubt her and I apologize to her that I ever did. Because she gave me some of the biggest laughs in the film. (Her scene with Viswanathan where Lucy asks Nadine to teach her how to break up with someone might just be my favourite scene of the film.)
But the main trio isn’t the only one who is always on point. Montgomery probably gets the raw deal of the film since he does play the “straight men” of the film and must always play the “bad guy” of the situation. But he does it so well and brings a charm to Nick that I think only he can bring. His chemistry with Viswanathan is exceptional and he proves that he can totally play other roles than the action star like he has over the last few years. It could have easily been a role that got lost in the grand scheme of thing since he is mostly there to be the voice of reason for Lucy but because of Montgomery’s performance, it’s the total opposite.
The Broken Hearts Gallery could have easily fallen into the romantic comedy traps that so many others do. But in her feature debut, writer/director Jennifer Krinsky brings a freshness to the genre. With a strong cast with a chemistry that is off the chart and a script that knows what it needs to be, the film hits in all the right places and ends up being one of the more entertaining films of 2020.
(Also shout out to Nathan Dales (LetterKenny) who plays Jeff for no other reason then his character might be the funniest of the film and he barely says a word.)