Combustible Celluloid
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With: Geraldine Viswanathan, Dacre Montgomery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Molly Gordon, Phillipa Soo, Suki Waterhouse, Sheila McCarthy, Bernadette Peters, Nathan Dales, Ego Nwodim, Megan Ferguson, Nikki Duval, Emma Hunter
Written by: Natalie Krinsky
Directed by: Natalie Krinsky
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content throughout and some crude references, strong language and drug references
Running Time: 108
Date: 09/11/2020

The Broken Hearts Gallery (2020)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Ex and Balances

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Natalie Krinsky's The Broken Hearts Gallery is shaped like an old-fashioned romantic comedy, hitting all the old familiar beats, from the comic relief best friends to the hero's final grand gesture.

But it checks off all the old boxes with fresh new ink, cheerfully representing and giving power and love to people of all shapes and colors and sizes, rather than just good-looking white people.

On the same night, Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan, Miracle Workers) loses her boyfriend and her job as an assistant in a hip New York gallery, she drunkenly jumps into a car driven by Nick (Dacre Montgomery, Stranger Things), thinking it's an Uber, and we have a traditional meet-cute.

Nick is trying to open a hotel, and Lucy, who has long collected mementos from several old boyfriends, is inspired to start her own gallery made up of such "broken heart" stories, in the lobby.

Of course, the most recent ex tries to get back in the picture, and Nick has a secret that drives Lucy away for a time, but, on the whole, The Broken Hearts Gallery is all about laughing, finding beauty in lost things, needle-drops, and silly dancing.

Molly Gordon (Booksmart) and Phillipa Soo (Hamilton) are wonderful highlights as Lucy's protective best friends, Amanda and Nadine, swiftly and hilariously trading barbs, and moving well above and beyond the traditional "best friend" characters, who usually care only about the lead's love life.

The supporters, including Nathan Dales, the unspeaking boyfriend of Amanda, and Arturo Castro as Nick's partner and pal, provide so many laughs that the poor leads come off as the least funny of all.

But Viswanathan is so bubbly and joyous with her rapid patter and total lack of inhibition, that in this time of deadly viruses, violent weather, and hateful politics, she becomes an essential tonic.

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