Though her overdone vivacity is not really my cup of tea, I cannot deny the fact that in no time at all 25-year-old Geraldine Vishwanathan, of Indian-Swiss heritage (her father is Tamil) has become the most sought-after actors of Indian origin since... since… nobody else!
She revved into the limelight in 2018 with the hit Blockers and quickly followed it up with a rousing performance as a veiled victim of Islamic oppression in Hala. In her third major movie outing, Geraldine plays Lucy a broken-hearted New Yorker, lately dumped by her boyfriend Max (Utkarsh Ambudkar), now confronting a fullblown meltdown in her bedroom (back then when Jessica Lange grieved for her dead husband in Men Don’t Leave, it was called a nervous breakdown) as her two best buddies, one a lesbian the other a cynic, neither normal (there are no normal characters in this hyper-ventilating ode to the spirit of teen angst) look on with a blend of despair and disgust. And some amusement thrown in to lighten the load of heavy emotions.
The crux of optimism is a club where broken-hearted youngsters display a memento from their fractured relationships.The Broken Hearts Gallery is supposed to be cute-and-revealing chronicle of Lucy’s journey from rock-bottom self esteem to a kind of elevated self-glorification where all her blind spots begin to shine in a self-revelatory light.
The quirky whimsical musical joyride is way too giddy headed to be taken seriously. But the point of putting Lucy into a position of vulnerable heartbreak and redemption is to make us feel for her instability bolstered by a determination to pull herself out of the rut without losing the spirit of buoyancy .
Lucy never speaks normally. All her conversations sound like fortune cookies from a Chinese restaurant that is open during the Covid only for those clients who promise not to laugh at the self important predictions from those cookies.
It is to Geraldine Vishawanath’s credit that she ploughs through the wafer-wispy plot as if she was Joan Fontaine in an Alfred Hitchcock film trying to find a reason to be giggling while her life falls into shambles. Vishwanathan is adept at keeping spirits high. It is her will to weather all storms that keep the otherwise laughably flimsy screenplay from falling apart.
Ms Vishwanathan and her Australian co-star, Dacre Montogmery make a well-groomed couple. When together they sing Elton John’s Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, as friends cheer and whistle, I got the point. The Broken Hearts Club is a film that doesn’t take life too seriously. It expects us to do the same and excuse and embrace the film’s excessive zeal and lavish optimism.
I will give it 2.5 stars.
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