Canadian director Natalie Krinsky on reviving the rom-com in ‘Broken Hearts Gallery’

Canadian director Natalie Krinsky on reviving the rom-com in ‘Broken Hearts Gallery’

Canadian director Natalie Krinsky on reviving the rom-com in ‘Broken Hearts Gallery’

Canadian director Natalie Krinsky says her romantic comedy, “The Broken Hearts Gallery,” has been the longest relationship of her life.

And like many love stories, it all began with a breakup.

More than a decade ago, Krinsky was moving out of her apartment while mourning the demise of her most recent relationship.

As she rummaged through the remnants of their shared history, she found herself torn between twin impulses — the desire to discard all reminders of their split, and wanting to hang on to mementos of their time together.

The Hamilton-raised filmmaker turned her heartache into the artistic inspiration that would eventually lead to the release of her debut feature, ”The Broken Hearts Gallery,” in theatres on Friday.

Executive produced by pop star Selena Gomez, the Toronto-shot, New York-set film stars “Blockers” breakout Geraldine Viswanathan as 20-something gallery assistant Lucy, who stockpiles souvenirs from her former flames.

After getting dumped, Lucy decides to crowdsource romantic relics for a makeshift art installation with the help of a handy hotelier, played by Dacre Montgomery of “Stranger Things.”

If that concept sounds familiar, that may be because there’s a real Museum of Broken Relationships based in Croatia, which has exhibited its collection of lovelorn artifacts across the globe.

When Krinsky heard about the museum while sorting through her own romantic clutter, she said it felt like “kismet.”

“I was like, gosh, that’s my rom-com. That’s the one I’m going to write,” Krinsky, who is based in L.A., said by phone. “It was inspired by (the museum), but it’s a very different application.”

In writing the film, Krinsky said she also drew from the rom-com classics she was raised on. But the project spent years in development limbo, earning a spot on Hollywood’s “Black List,” an annual survey published online in which executives pick the best unproduced scripts.

In the era of the modern blockbuster, love stories seem to have fallen out of Hollywood’s favour. When romantic comedies are made, they tend to find a home on streaming platforms rather than a big screen rollout.

Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has made public movie-going experiences a rarity across genres. But working within local safety precautions, Krinsky pushed to give audiences the option of experiencing ”The Broken Hearts Gallery” together.

“There’s something really wonderful about seeing a movie like this in the theatre and kind of sharing in the heartbreak and laughter … as a communal experience.”

The strategy seems to have been a success, as the movie is set to hit 290 screens across the country, which Telefilm says is noteworthy as the highest screen count for a Canadian film since at least 2017.

Despite her devotion to the rom-com cannon, Krinsky said the genre is in dire need of an update. She felt it was important that the film represent the full spectrum of love with a culturally diverse cast and LGBTQ characters.

Essential to this mission was Viswanathan, who with emotional sincerity and “comedic timing of Lucille Ball” portrays a female lead that viewers can see themselves in, said Krinsky.

“She’s a young woman who’s asking the world to love her not despite the fact that she is weird, but because of the fact that she is weird,” she said.

“I (wanted) to show women that you can be successful and you can be yourself. And you can also find somebody who appreciates those things about you.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 10, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP MP Heather McPherson pictured in Edmonton on Friday, March 6, 2020. Alberta’s legislature may have been silenced but its partisan warfare has relocated to the House of Commons as MPs hold an emergency debate tonight on the province’s soaring COVID-19 cases. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Kenney under fire during Commons emergency debate on Alberta’s COVID-19 crisis

Edmonton New Democrat MP says Kenney ignored the evidence of science

An electric car is seen getting charged at parking lot in Tsawwassen, near Vancouver, Friday, April, 6, 2018. Should Canada introduce a national mandate requiring the auto industry make or sell more zero-emission vehicles is a question facing the Liberal government as it’s not on the road to meet its own sales targets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Should Canada mandate sales targets for electric vehicles? Report says ‘yes’

Parliamentary committee studied how to incentivize the purchase and production of electric vehicles

A Torrington School music program is one of 95 beneficiaries across the country of grants from MusiCounts, Canada’s music education charity. (Black Press file photo).
Torrington music program gets grant to purchase instruments

A Torrington school will be able to replace worn out band instruments… Continue reading

Paul Harris, owner of Tribe restaurant downtown, said a lot of the blame for the latest restrictions that will close outdoor patios on Sunday can be blamed on those not obeying health regulations and the government for failing to enforce the rules.
Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff
Restaurant owners frustrated by patio shutdowns

Outdoor patios must stop serving by midnight Sunday to stem rising COVID infections

LtE bug
Letter: Restrictions are a crime against humanity

I was distressed to note the seemingly superficial understanding of the holocaust… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: Follow restrictions so pandemic can be behind us

From one who feels that COVID could have been overcome long ago… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: Westerner needs help now

I have spent the last few days sifting through many pieces of… Continue reading

Jets beat Flames 4-0 to snap seven-game losing streak and clinch playoff spot

Jets beat Flames 4-0 to snap seven-game losing streak and clinch playoff spot

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson, left, directs her teammates, lead Briane Meilleur, right, and second Shannon Birchard, against Estonia at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, May 5, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson extends win streak to four games at world curling playdowns

Canada’s Einarson extends win streak to four games at world curling playdowns

CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy, left, talks with midfielder Lassi Lappalainen during the second half of an MLS soccer match against Columbus Crew, Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The game ended in a 0-0 tie. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Canadian MLS teams try to make best of relocation

Canadian MLS teams try to make best of relocation

Damian Warner, of Canada bronze, smiles during the medal ceremony for the decathlon at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Nariman El-Mofty
Decathlete Damian Warner says being a dad has brought balance and new perspective

Decathlete Damian Warner says being a dad has brought balance and new perspective

Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. gestures rounding third base after hitting his third home run against the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning of a baseball game Thursday, April 27, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Blue Jays shuffling back to Buffalo starting June 1

Blue Jays shuffling back to Buffalo starting June 1

Most Read