'A tonic for what’s been a pretty difficult 2020': Toronto-filmed 'Broken Hearts Gallery' paves the way for a modern romcom

Elisabetta Bianchini
·4 min read

One of the few films that’s getting a theatrical release during the COVID-19 pandemic, Broken Hearts Gallery, which touts Selena Gomez as executive producer, may be the distraction you need from the anxieties of the virus.

“I really hope that it’s a tonic for what’s been a pretty difficult 2020,” Canadian-American writer/director Natalie Krinsky told Yahoo Canada.

“I think it will be a lovely piece of escapism in a time when we’re so jointly fatigued by the constant barrage of the things that are now realities in the world,” Dacre Montgomery who plays Nick in the film said.

Although the movie is getting a theatrical release, the film’s star Geraldine Viswanathan admits there’s still some disappointment that it isn’t getting the expected premiere.

“It’s disappointing that we can’t have a premiere and celebrate this movie in the way that we thought we would, because it was such a party making,” she told Yahoo Canada. “But in a way, it’s kind of more meaningful because it’s such a feel good movie and I think we all really want to feel good right now.”

Broken Hearts Gallery follows Lucy (Viswanathan) who has an embarrassing breakup with Max (Utkarsh Ambudkar) after a public incident at work. She retreats to her apartment with her friends/roommates Amanda and Nadine (Molly Gordon and Phillipa Soo), surrounded by keepsakes of her past romances.

This is where we meet Nick who, in typical rom-com fashion, initially meets Lucy when she mistakes him for her Uber driver. Nick is struggling to open a hotel when Lucy comes up with the idea of displaying her heartbreak keepsakes in his space, but also displaying items from others in the city looking to take a step back from the past they’re still holding on to.

Broken Hearts Gallery (Elevation Pictures)
Broken Hearts Gallery (Elevation Pictures)

‘A modern Lucille Ball’

Viswanathan’s portrayal of Lucy is a key highlight of the film. She has an approachable bubbly-ness and intoxicating energy that instantly makes you wish you were one of her friends. Krinsky calls Viswanathan “a modern Lucille Ball.”

Lucy’s balance between being funny and quirky, but having an emotional and sensitive side is something Krinsky and Viswanathan worked on in collaboration.

“There’s no comedy without pain,” Krinsky said. “Her voice is definitely unique and she’s kind of got this really fun way and quirky way of looking at the world but it’s all rooted in real emotion.”

“It’s rooted in something that I think is painful for her to contend with and sometimes she masks that with a sense of humour or she masks that with a ‘I’m such a weird hoarder’ vibe.”

Viswanathan revealed she’s personally quite sentimental, not dissimilar to Lucy.

“I hold on to all handwritten things, I have all my birthday cards and letters, and gifts from boyfriends and sweatshirts and all that jazz,” she said. “I also love looking through old photos...I have been doing that a lot, especially at the beginning of quarantine, I feel like I was doing a lot of reminiscing.”

Krinsky is originally from Hamilton, Ont., but moved to New York with her family in high school and said it was a pleasure to shoot the film in Toronto, being able to experience the city as an adult.

Australian actor Montgomery revealed his mother is actually originally from Kitchener, Ont., and loved experiencing Toronto’s food scene, while fellow Australian Viswanathan liked to spend her weekends at Trinity Bellwood’s Park.

“Nice to be here in the summer,” Montgomery said. “I’m really not a cold guy.”

Krinsky said one of the most important messages in the film is that “Lucy is a character that asks the world to love her, not despite the fact that she is weird but exactly because she is weird.”

“That’s really important for young women to see,” she said. “We don’t have to twist ourselves into something that we’re not, we get to be exactly who we are and that’s I think where true love comes from, and maybe that idealistic but I think a little idealism isn’t going to kill us these days.”