CINEMA: Bridget Jones riff-off proves enjoyable in the end

REVIEW: The Broken Hearts Gallery (12a), (109 mins), Cineworld Cinemas

Friday, 11th September 2020, 5:14 pm
Updated Friday, 11th September 2020, 5:18 pm
The Broken Hearts Gallery
The Broken Hearts Gallery

Amongst the general gush of romcoms, The Broken Hearts Gallery really does come up with a cracker of a starting point – so much so that you end up feeling it really ought to be a better film than it actually is.

Part of the problem is the central character, the jilted Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan), a girl so annoying that it’s hard to feel terribly bothered by her heartbreak.

We are instantly into Bridget Jones territory at a lower level: she’s hung up about a cad, really should be with the decent guy and even manages to deliver a toe-curlingly embarrassing speech at an arts launch. In the background she’s got a gaggle of girly mates out to cover her back.

As for Lucy, she’s Bridget all over, a motor mouth who can’t have a thought without uttering it in a film where there’s barely a conversation that rings true in the first hour. Do you know anyone who would ever actually say “Please trust my process”?

For the first half, it’s just about rescued by the gorgeous glimpses of its New York setting; then for the second, you start to realise it’s probably deliberate that Lucy is quite so irritating.

It’s a film about her learning to let go and eventually becoming herself – and in the final sequences she manages to be thoroughly endearing, quite some achievement given where we started.

The premise is that she is a physical and emotional hoarder, surrounding herself with mementoes of past loves, not least her ailing mother. Having been ditched by the even more awful Max (Utkarsh Ambudkar), she stumbles on Nick (Dacre Montgomery), a bit of a Zac Efron look-alike who just happens to be doing up a hotel for his own sentimental reasons.

It’s not long before it evolves into The Broken Hearts Gallery of the title, a place where you can exhibit the memorabilia from your lost loves – and in so doing let them go.

Meanwhile, of course, without either of them quite wanting to acknowledge it, Lucy and Nick are developing a little bit of new love of their own – the point at which bad guy Max returns, tail between his legs, wanting Lucy back again. Bridget Jones all over.

But maybe this is the point where it all picks up just a little; we start to see a new side to Lucy, and the ending is certainly sweet, without being over saccharine.

It’s probably not a film which will linger long in memory; but at the very least, it will leave you longing to go back to New York for its hustle, bustle and gorgeous autumn colours.