BAXTER — Who hasn’t had his or her heart broken?

“The Broken Hearts Gallery” takes that notion that everyone has had their heart broken at one time or another and bases a romantic comedy on it that’s novel, refreshing and, yes, heartfelt.

The PG-13 movie was released last month at the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter (and the Sunset Cinema in Pequot Lakes), and the film has received mostly positive reviews from critics.

Relative newcomer Geraldine Viswanathan plays Lucy Gulliver, a young woman in her 20s whose professional life as an art gallery assistant isn’t going as well as her personal life when she becomes involved with a coworker who subsequently dumps her for a more worldly woman.

A stuffed animal is abandoned on the ground by its owner. Photo by Trym Nilsen on Unsplash.com
A stuffed animal is abandoned on the ground by its owner. Photo by Trym Nilsen on Unsplash.com

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Gulliver is no stranger to the ups and downs of dating as her supportive best girlfriends come to her aid after her latest breakup, but they also privately bet on how long her lovers stick around.

Wallowing in grief in her room among a veritable mess of a bed more befitting a college student in a dorm room, the pair of besties implore the third in their trio to cheer up and move on.

The duo has the epiphany that Gulliver has trouble moving forward because she has difficulty letting go of the past, which includes holding on to tangible reminders of previous relationships.

The sentimental Gulliver’s collection of odds and ends include a dental retainer — eww — a necktie and an AirPods case that normally would be tossed or returned to their rightful owner.

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Gulliver’s BFFs — “best friends forever” — implore her to throw away those mementos or souvenirs from her failed relationships they believe are holding Gulliver back.

Gulliver then becomes involved, platonically at first, with a hotel entrepreneur whose car she mistakenly gets into believing the young man is a Lyft driver she hailed to pick her up.

Nick takes pity on the inconsolable yet gregarious and sincere Gulliver and drives her to her destination anyway as she recounts her disastrous yet hilariously epic breakup at the gallery.

The inscrutable and pessimistic Nick is played by Dacre Montgomery, who finds himself inexplicably drawn to the vivacious Gulliver, who seems to be his polar opposite.

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Nick has a follow-up run-in with Gulliver on the streets of New York when she is just about to confront her former boyfriend in a most embarrassing way by causing a scene at an eatery.

The chivalrous Nick runs interference and then reveals his plans to her to start a boutique hotel. He has big plans but is low on funds and that’s when Gulliver volunteers her services.

She also comes up with the brilliant idea for The Broken Hearts Gallery, exhibition space at the under-construction hotel that brings much-needed publicity and generates some funds.

Equal parts public confessional space, part kitschy pop culture display, the gallery is where other heartbroken people like herself can drop off items from past and often painful breakups.

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“Heartbreak is the loneliest feeling in the world, and the truth is that it happens to us all,” said Gulliver, a so-called emotional hoarder and starter of a movement for fresh starts for romantics.

That’s the central conceit of the motion picture full of fresh faces living above their means in the Big Apple or in relative comfort given their characters’ vague employment status or occupations.

The romantic comedy based on the East Coast was filmed in Toronto, Canada. The feature film was written and directed by Natalie Krinsky in her directorial debut and executive produced by Selena Gomez, the singer and actress.

As with most romantic comedies, obstacles and challenges — whether real or imagined, believable or incredulous — exist to keep the main leads apart and moviegoers interested.

Frank Lee
Frank Lee

Falling in love means taking a risk, exposing yourself to another in every conceivable way and allowing yourself to be vulnerable, which is hard for most of us no matter what the age.

There are many love songs and breakup songs out there, but I’ve always loved the song “Breakeven,” a song by the Irish pop rock band the Script released in 2008.

The lyrics are compelling, enduring and have a ring of truth to them: “‘Cause she’s moved on while I’m still grieving. And when a heart breaks, no, it don’t break even, even.”

No, it don’t. “The Broken Hearts Gallery” gives hope, however, that hearts will mend. And for me, that’s well worth the price of admission.

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at frank.lee@brainerddispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchFL.