So, 2020 hasn’t been a good year for a lot of things. However, some things have flourished despite the chaos. One is the romantic comedy, which has found itself delving into the stories of Black and brown people. They have specifically centered black and brown women. Films like The Photograph, Lovebirds, The Half of It, Premature, and a handful of others. Broken Hearts Gallery is not just another addition to that growing segment of the rom-com genre. The film and its star Geraldine Viswanathan both blaze another refreshing trail as the unapologetic nerdy brown girl whose problem is NOT about getting “the guy”. Her problems are bigger and more substantial.
The Brown Girl in the Middle of This Romance
Natalie Krinsky wrote and directed this fresh look at the “boy meets girl” story that we have known since the cinema began. All of those stories have a theme—they center the need for a white, fragile, female to “catch” a man for eventual marriage. When Harry Met Sally, City of Angels, The Wedding Date, and others all follow this model. It was so refreshing to see Viswanathan’s Lucy, a young woman who has been hoarding… I mean collecting…remnants of her lost loves since the first one went away. We meet up with Lucy as an adult, living in an apartment with her three best friends, in a room that has now become a shrine to lost loves. Her latest paramour, Max, breaks things off and sends Lucy into a depression spiral that her friends struggle to get her out of.
Lucy finally finds a solution. She posts Max’s tie on the wall of a hotel under construction. The new owner, Nick has a grand idea for the place and not much else. Lucy becomes a nice distraction at first. Then someone adds to the tie. Lucy posts on social media and others do as well. Soon, she has enough to fill a gallery with remains of dead relationships. This becomes the addition that Nick needs to finish his hotel. Together they work to make it happen. Over the course of the construction, the two become friends and then more.
Never once does Lucy give up being herself. She is never dressed glamorously, never thinks of changing herself to appeal to him, even after its obvious that she is in love. Lucy stays loud, vulgar, corny, and unapologetic about her quirks. And, she still gets the guy.
There is one point when I really thought the film was pulling a plot twist and pitting the Brown girl up against the pretty blonde. But, that was never the case. Lucy never compares herself to the body that society says is superior. Broken Hearts Gallery centers Lucy and her experience. This is also a way of showing Nick and the audience another layer beneath the surface of “Lucy”. She is a girl who holds on to objects for a very important and sentimental reason. This discovery changes the entire tone of the film and enriches what we already know about our heroine.
Are Those Inclusive, Feminist Jokes I Hear?
Much of the comedy hinges on jokes that come from an obviously feminist lens. Lucy and her friends talk about joke freely about sex-positive body topics. There is also a moment when a woman on the street believes Lucy is in danger and comes to her aide—almost beating Nick! The problem is called out whenever possible and dildos are a part of life in Broken Hearts Gallery. This film is proof that inclusion and diversity can be comedic, romantic, and also very entertaining.
The audience will love the eclectic characters, including a strident Bernadette Peters, as Lucy’s boss and eventual benefactor. Many of the best jokes are made by Lucy’s roommates Nadine and Amanda, played by Phillipa Soo and Molly Gordon. Broken Hearts Gallery should also work to prove that my fave up and coming actress (loved her since Hala) Geraldine Viswanathan is prepping for leading lady status. We know that she can carry a drama, and now we see that comedy is in her wheelhouse too. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
Broken Hearts Gallery is in theaters.
Rating 4 of 5.
The post Film Review: ‘Broken Hearts Gallery’ Offers Breakup Remains and A Brown Girl’s Heart appeared first on The Black Cape Magazine.