Movie reviews: The Broken Hearts Gallery ★★★

Romance: Viswanathan and Montgomery as Lucy and Nick

Romance: Viswanathan and Montgomery as Lucy and Nick

Dementia: Javier Bardem and Elle Fanning are father and daughter in the film

Dementia: Javier Bardem and Elle Fanning are father and daughter in the film

Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland

Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland

Esther McCarthy

Selena Gomez puts on her movie producers' hat to bring this charming and witty rom-com to the big screen.

Opening in cinemas this weekend, The Broken Hearts Gallery blends the edgy modern humour of Girls with the quick-witted comedy of Booksmart.

Geraldine Viswanathan backs up an excellent performance as a student reporter opposite Hugh Jackman in Bad Education with a strong comedic performance here. Stranger Things star Dacre Montgomery is just lovely as the nice guy we're willing her to get together with.

Viswanathan is Lucy, an assistant at a gallery in New York who has dreams of setting up her own arts business.

But she is not in a good place. After learning that the guy she's seeing has been cheating on her with his ex-girlfriend, Lucy has too much to drink at a gallery event and spills her thoughts to disastrous effect.

Unemployed and heartbroken, she gets in the car of a stranger she believes is her Uber (this is funnier and less weird than it sounds). Nick (Montgomery) can see the jaded woman in his back seat just wants to get home and a friendship is born.

When Lucy discovers Nick is converting an old hostel he dreams of turning into a hotel, she persuades him to allow her a little gallery space to house an interesting project.

The Broken Hearts Gallery is born from Lucy's own obsession with hoarding mementoes of past relationships.

She has a tendency, to the dismay of her friends, of keeping numerous memories of her former boyfriends, despite their reservations that this stops her from moving on.

But Lucy is on to something - lots of other broken-hearted people start to bring their mementoes to the gallery, as it gradually becomes an arty form of closure.

While it can fray you with its hipster attitude at times, the movie succeeds because the protagonists really, really try to be friends at first. Like many of their own mates (and the supporting characters here are great), you are rolling your eyes at their attempts to disguise their obvious affection for each other.

But the path to love never did run smoothly, and there's enough drama in here to make you invested.

The Stars: Geraldine Viswanathan, Dacre Montgomery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Phillipa Soo.

The Story: A young woman sets up a gallery in celebration of loves lost.

The Verdict: Occasionally it strains, but this is a beguiling rom-com.

Roads Not Taken ★★


Dementia: Javier Bardem and Elle Fanning are father and daughter in the film

Dementia: Javier Bardem and Elle Fanning are father and daughter in the film

"Why does everyone keep referring to dad as he? As if he is not here?" a frustrated Elle Fanning shouts at her mum.

"Well, is he?" replies her mother and his ex wife Laura Linney. That's the story at the heart of Roads Not Taken, a well acted but problematic tale of a father/daughter bond.

Written and directed by filmmaker Sally Potter and inspired by her own experiences of nursing her ill brother, the story revolves around alternate lives. It opened in cinemas this weekend.

Told in an abstract style, the film tells the story of Leo (Bardem) who is struggling with dementia. But the movie goes into Leo's mind as it goes off in adventures, wondering what would have happened if he took other paths during the course of his life.

In one scenario, he never leaves his native Mexico and settles with first love Dolores (Hayek). In another, he has retired to a Greek island to finish a novel he's been working on for years.

The reality is more sombre, as Molly spends a stressful day with her father. Her efforts to bring him for dental and eyesight appointments descend into chaos.

It's a film that's as much, if not more, about the carer as the sick. Molly eventually finds herself having to make some hard choices about whether to put her father into care.

It's a moving concept, well acted, but there are simply too many gaps in the story and the structure to make it work.

The stars: Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning, Laura Linney, Salma Hayek.

The story: A man with dementia tries to contemplate the lives he might have lived.

The verdict: A well-acted but frustrating watch.

Small screen: Judy ★★★

12A Sky Cinema and rentals

RENEE Zellweger goes beyond performance to bring us a fully fleshed Judy Garland in her latter days. While the movie focuses on late-life Judy, flashbacks fall well short in conveying the childhood torment and cruelty that brought her to this place.

Still, Zellweger does a decent job of bringing out not only Garland's sadness and addictions, but also her sass and wit. It won her an Oscar earlier this year and is now on Sky Cinema and rental platforms.

Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland

Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland

Like the recent Stan and Ollie, it focuses on a megastar in her final phase of performance, after her most megawatt days have passed.

Set during her London concert run in 1968, just a year before her death at the age of 47, it was a time when Garland could be sometimes brilliant and sometimes shambolic. Struggling with life-long addictions and the personal and family problems that they bring, Rupert Goold's film, aided and abetted by Zellweger's empathetic performance, brings home the need to keep the show on the road.

Garland needs the money and the security, but is in no position to take on the pressures and the profile of such a run. The film is both compassionate and clinically honest in portraying her fall from grace.

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