Natalie Krinsky‘s The Broken Hearts Gallery follows 20-something art gallery assistant Lucy Gulliver (Geraldine Viswanathan) living in New York City as she is suddenly fired from her job and dumped by her most recent boyfriend Max Vora (Utkarsh Ambudkar). Through the years, Lucy has become an emotional hoarder and has kept various keepsake items from all her past relationships as they are scattered within in her room. Lucy randomly meets Nick (Dacre Montgomery) as they begin a friendship, she becomes inspired and starts a pop-up space in his refashioned hotel where people are able to donate their trinkets from past relationships. Written and directed by Natalie Krinsky (Gossip Girl, Grey’s Anatomy, 90210), it is her directorial debut.
Casting a lead that is capable of portraying both comedy and drama performances well may sometimes be challenging to pinpoint. Krinsky detailed, “I had met a lot of young women for the role of Lucy. Lucy is this weird character, but there’s something about her that is very lovable and very relatable. When I met Geraldine, I was so impressed by her incredible comedic chops that she displayed in Blockers and then in Hala, she had this very vulnerable dramatic performance. She really has that ability to both have this amazing comedic timing, like Lucille Ball; but then she holds this vulnerability of softness and a little bit of woundedness underneath, that really was rare. The other thing about Geraldine that’s amazing is her face; she has this expressive ability to do so much without even uttering a word, and then when she does, it’s a revelation. Geraldine is a very gifted improv comedian. That lent a really natural and genuine tone to the performance and she captured Lucy’s spirit really well. Geraldine is basically in every scene of this movie.”
The chemistry between Geraldine and her on screen roommates gelled so naturally as if they had known each other their whole lives. “I loved Molly in Booksmart, I knew Phillipa’s work from Hamilton. It was a shot in the dark and I just had a feeling, Molly Gordon is going to be Amanda and Phillipa Soo is going to be a Nadine. They were all fans of one another, but they hadn’t all ever spent time together. They let this energy fill the room, our set, and were on fire from the beginning. They each occupied their roles so well. Molly took to this a cervix cynical role and had this deadpan affection; whereas Phillipa really embodied this romantic heartbreaker role, and to watch Geraldine ping pong between the two of them. It was really fun to watch that dynamic play out between the three of them,” the director described.
The visual look of the film depicts that balance between the glossy studio style visual mixed in with the characteristics of an independent feature. “The first thing that I did was put together a pretty extensive look book. I used photography, other movie references, and shots of New York. I worked closely with my DP Alar Kivilo. I really wanted the movie to not feel like this big, shiny studio romantic comedy in a traditional way, but I didn’t want it to feel completely like a gritty indie. I wanted New York and Lucy’s world to still have this golden dream like quality a little bit. My production designer Zazu Myers spent an inordinate amount of time with me, especially in Lucy’s room trying to figure out all the small knickknacks and what were the things that Lucy would have kept. We fashioned these various items in her room, how we could layer those, the colors that we would be using that were soft and cocoon like, such as pinks and yellows. We were really specific about how Lucy curated her own space before she was going to curate this exhibit,” the filmmaker envisioned.
The soundtrack embodied the high highs and the low lows of New York City. Krinsky expressed, “My music supervisor Melany Mitchell made a playlist that captured the mood. She and I had both spent our 20s in New York. We wanted the feeling of being useful in New York, feeling the energy of the city, and feeling the high highs and low lows of the youth in New York. When we’re falling in love in New York, something good is happening or we’re feeling successful, there’s no greater feeling of invincibility. Then when we’ve been broken up with or when something bad happens, there’s a feeling of even if we are surrounded by all these people of intense loneliness. We wanted to mirror those high highs and low lows in the music and keep the energy really propulsive. The other thing that we focused on was trying to get as many female artists as we could. We felt the soundtrack of this film was really female forward. One of the hard parts was finding that final song after the big grand gesture and all the confetti was coming down in this joyous moment. Melany had this great idea of approaching Ingrid Michaelson to remix the “Young And In Love” song. It turned out to be the theme of the whole film and it was such an inspired idea. It really captured that moment.”
The Broken Hearts Gallery is an original and fresh romantic comedy from writer/director Natalie Krinsky. A rare blend of dramatic and comedic performance from Geraldine Viswanathan warms our hearts from the beginning up until the end as we root for Lucy to succeed with her new creative gallery as she provides a space for people to let go of their past relationships.