Most of us have kept souvenirs from past relationships – that book they left behind, the band t-shirt you ‘borrowed’ and never gave back. But would you put them on display for all to see? That’s what a young art enthusiast (played by Bad Education's Geraldine Viswanathan) decides to do in Natalie Krinsky's new rom-com The Broken Hearts Gallery, which is showing at Cineworld cinemas now.
Our “emotional hoarder” of a heroine sees an opportunity to create this pop-up space for people's past loves when she meets Nick (Power Rangers star Dacre Montgomery). The pair are thrown together via a classic romantic-comedy meet-cute, before Lucy realises that Nick’s half-finished boutique hotel would make the perfect gallery space…
The Broken Hearts Gallery is already capturing the hearts of audiences – at the time of writing, it’s got an 88% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes – and it's causing a ripple among the critics as well, with many calling it a rom-com to fall in love with. Here’s what they’ve been saying about what could be the must-see romantic comedy of the year…
Simran Hans gave the movie a four-star review in The Observer, saying that she was won over by the film regardless of its shmaltzy-sounding set-up:
"The premise of writer Natalie Krinsky’s directorial debut sounds cheesy, and it is, but watching the brooding Nick softening to putty in our goofball heroine’s presence while she remains sparkily oblivious is an earnest pleasure."
Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Katie Walsh couldn’t be clearer that this is a feelgood film; one that overrides its formulaic plot and implausible coincidences (but aren’t they the stuff that some of the great rom-coms are made of?):
"If Geraldine Viswanathan’s [Lucy’s] bubbly spirit could be bottled and distributed, the world would be a much brighter and funnier place."
The Times’ Kevin Maher was also a fan and awarded the film four stars, despite having gone in with reservations:
"This is such a strange and sneaky little movie, one that creeps up and grabs you by the heartstrings even as you’re trying, hopelessly, to pick apart its flaws. It’s a rom-com, first of all, formulaic to the core."
But he added:
"[This] low-key charmer rises far above the pack thanks to a wickedly funny screenplay... [and] an indecently charismatic turn from the rising Australian star Geraldine Viswanathan.”
Empire’s Ian Freer was another to give the film a four-star review, and was also one of several critics to say that it calls to mind the TV show Girls, with its sharp New Yorker attitude:
"The Broken Hearts Gallery announces a sharp, smart, fun voice to the genre, a film knowing enough to have characters re-enact scenes from The Notebook, yet open-hearted enough to bring the feels.”
It’s not easy to find a negative review of The Broken Hearts Gallery, but not everyone fell in love with it. Leslie Felperin from The Hollywood Reporter wasn’t taken in, even while admitting that the film has its charms. The review stated that it might be a victim of its time:
“Self-mocking irony, the salt that tempers the sweetness in the best, most enduring romantic comedies, has been strangely skimped on. Perhaps the naïve earnestness of Broken Hearts — as it works the machinery of the genre’s rusty tropes, like a hipster getting a flea-market wind-up record player working — is the most 2020 thing about it.”