A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Broken Hearts Gallery is a romantic comedy executive-produced by Selena Gomez. It's edgy but not explicit, and it's completely in step with the way real young adults speak, behave, and interact. That includes some strong language ("bitch," "s--t," etc.), sex-positive attitudes, and jokes about drugs, drinking, and sex (one including a sex toy). As far as actual sex scenes, there's only one, and it takes place mostly after the fact, with the couple in question talking while covered by sheets. Characters drink frequently in social situations (mostly whiskey and wine), and the plot kicks into gear when lead character Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan) drinks too much at a work event after being warned by a co-worker to slow down. The film offers a wide range of diversity in its characters -- something that's too often been scarce in mainstream romcoms -- and focuses on taking a healthy approach to romance, promoting the value of communication and trust. It also emphasizes the value of strong, supportive friendships among women and models powerful self-acceptance.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan) is a romantic 26-year-old art gallery assistant who literally holds onto her past breakups: She stores and displays mementos left behind. On the same night that she loses her boyfriend and her job, Lucy meets Nick (Dacre Montgomery from Stranger Things) and is inspired to create THE BROKEN HEARTS GALLERY, a space dedicated to trinkets let go by the brokenhearted.
Is it any good?
This is a snappy, sensational romantic comedy with a wonderfully optimistic main character. The quirky premise about a young woman who physically can't let go of the past, stubbornly holding on to little items from her exes, is completely sold by Viswanathan. When we first meet Lucy, it's not under the best of circumstances: She's having trouble moving on after a breakup and isn't taking it well. But Viswanathan's magnetic personality lets us see the humanity behind Lucy's obsessiveness and absolutely fall in love with her: This is the friend you want by your side. Together with her sympathetic and protective friends Amanda (Molly Gordon) and Nadine (Phillipa Soo), they're an ideal trio -- together for the tough times while also lovingly calling each other out on their nonsense.
Writer-director Natalie Krinsky looks like she could be that once-in-a-decade voice who captures her generation -- and her gender -- with smart, witty dialogue; she's stepping into the footprints left by Lena Dunham, Diablo Cody, and Nora Ephron. Her characters have an aspirational patter, but, at the same time, it's exactly how today's 20-somethings talk. With an irreverent, feminist self-awareness, expressed via barbs about patriarchal society and men who are baffled by how to respond to unwarranted accusations, it's all so of the moment. At times, some of the acting comes off a little weak -- likely the result of Krinsky being a first-time director -- but it's completely forgivable as she delivers a fantastically fun film. Like many love stories aimed at women, it's a female fantasy in many ways -- that our ideas are accepted, that our opinions are valued, that we're loved and accepted for who we are as we are -- but that's how we change the world, right? If life imitates art, Lucy's world is a nice place to live.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the positive representations in The Broken Hearts Gallery. How do the characters here compare to those you've seen in other Hollywood romcoms? Why is representation in the media important?
In what ways do you think the film reflects real life, and in what ways is it a fantasy?
How is friendship depicted here? Is that typical for movies that portray female friendship? How do friends help you cope with the ups and downs of life?
- In theaters: September 11, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: November 17, 2020
- Cast: Geraldine Viswanathan, Dacre Montgomery, Utkarsh Ambudkar
- Director: Natalie Krinsky
- Studio: TriStar Pictures
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Arts and Dance, Friendship
- Character strengths: Communication
- Run time: 108 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sexual content throughout and some crude references, strong language and drug references
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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