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Interview: Geraldine Viswanathan on 'The Broken Hearts Gallery'.

Interview: Geraldine Viswanathan on 'The Broken Hearts Gallery'.

"The movie is about a woman finding herself and her voice, especially artistically," Geraldine Viswanathan shares about her latest film 'The Broken Hearts Gallery' which sees her star alongside fellow Australian Dacre Montgomery, in a quirky love story set in New York City. In the film, her character Lucy finds herself holding onto mementos from her failed relationships, and eventually finds inspiration and turns the mementos into an art project.

About the film, Selena Gomez (who executive produced the movie) shares: "We all keep the mementos of our past relationships – the ones that left us better and the ones that broke our hearts but helped us grow. It’s good to have an object to spur those bittersweet memories every now and then. Those memories are part of what makes us who we are."

We caught up with Viswanathan ahead of the film's release to discuss her character's optimism, the influence of parents on our lives, and more...

COUP DE MAIN: Your character Lucy is such an optimist when it comes to love. Why were you so drawn to her as a character when you first found out about the role?
GERALDINE VISWANATHAN: When I first read the script, I fell in love with Lucy, and then when I met Natalie I subsequently fell in love with her as well. I think a lot of Natalie's essence is in Lucy - she's so open and optimistic and wears her heart on her sleeve, and lives in this way that I found really beautiful and that I was really interested in exploring in myself. I think Lucy can go anywhere and just become best friends with someone in seconds, and Natalie is like that, and I think that they're really special and magnetic people and I just wanted to live in that world and see if Lucy would rub off on me in any way.

CDM: That's cool that Lucy comes from an actual person, because I feel like that's probably easier to be like, 'Oh, I can see exactly where this character exists in real life as well.'
GERALDINE: Yeah! Natalie started writing this 10 years ago. She was in her 20s, living in New York, and she loves art, and she's really cultured and cool. I really felt that, I really felt her kind of love for that time of your life and New York City and those really formative friendships that last your whole life, and I just thought it was really special.

CDM: One of the parts of the film that I really identify with, and I’m sure other women can is when Lucy says, “I’ve never had a guy be happy for my own success before.” It’s a sadly common thing, where men are often threatened by successful women. Do you think it’s important to tackle issues like this in film?
GERALDINE: Yeah, I think so. I feel like Lucy, and the women in this film are such a reflection of current, modern day women. And while it's not on the nose, I think it's just inherent to the way that we feel and our stories that those kind of nuances of the patriarchy do come through, and I think it brings new depths to Lucy and Nick's relationship. They're not just two cuties thinking that each other is cute, they're adults, and they really complement each other very well and it's quite a healthy relationship in the end. Lucy's experience with Max was so different where he was playing power games and maybe didn't fundamentally respect her as much as she deserves to be. I thought that was a really important part of the story because the movie is about a woman finding herself and her voice, especially artistically. She did it on her own and that can be threatening for a man, but the fact that he [Nick] isn't threatened by it means that there's foundation for something real and good.

CDM: Your character Lucy puts Max on a pedestal, which I think is another common thing that happens in relationships, which can be quite unhealthy. Do you think it’s important for Lucy to have that realisation that Max is actually not treating her in a proper way?
GERALDINE: Totally. I think that there's this fantasy, like Max is on top of his shit; he's got coffee table books. He's a grown man. But at the same time, I think that discovery that he's not perfect, that he's got his own heartbreak that he can't really get over... I really like that line that you're the villain in my love story and the hero in yours. That perspective of, he's not a bad guy; he just has his own shit to deal with, and it's not really in line with what Lucy's journey is. I felt like that was quite a real depiction of adult relationships.

CDM: Have you ever been to the Museum of Broken Relationships?
GERALDINE: I haven't. Oh my god, that would be so cool to go to. I looked at it online and there was a scab that someone had put in, I thought that was so beautifully gross. I would love to go, but I think it's in Europe?
CDM: I went to the original one in Croatia, and it was so emotional to see all these artefacts of lost love. It's interesting how such mundane items can represent really important memories for people. Why do you think that we tend to carry memories through tangible items?
GERALDINE: That sounds so beautiful, and that it could be a piece of junk, but if there's a story behind it then it's art - it's meaningful to someone, and then it can be meaningful to everyone. That's so moving and I can't wait to go.

CDM: When you see the storyline of Lucy’s mum, it makes sense why collecting items is so important to her - the idea of lost memories is such a terrifying concept. It also makes you think about how much of how people are is shaped by their parents. Do you think that our parents' experiences will always lend a part in the way we turn out?
GERALDINE: I've actually been reflecting on this a lot. I think that there's no way around that really. I think that we're all just soaking in the soil and the sun and the water that is around us. I think our parents have a huge influence on who we are and what our lives turn out to be, at least in my experience. I feel very strongly impacted by my own parents, I think because we have a very close relationship and a very positive one. So, I just kind of feel eternally grateful and indebted to them. And I think a lot of us just spend our lives trying to thank our parents. I thought that was really special in Lucy's case, how her mum was this really cool, independent, really smart and cultured woman. They just had each other growing up, and when I found that in the script, I think it really broke my heart a little bit.

CDM: What did you kind of learn and take from playing Lucy? Do you feel like you've taken personality traits?
GERALDINE: I definitely feel like I'm maybe more of a hoarder. I've always been a hoarder, I have many boxes of not only just romantic relationships, but just moments in life. I feel like Lucy, to me, it's the same way I feel about Natalie. I always say that she's a professional best friend. I feel like Lucy's like that too. I hope that I've become a better friend coming off that experience. And then, maybe her fashion as well. I love the clothes that Lucy wore. She has the Reformation dresses - very feminine but still strong.

'The Broken Hearts Gallery' is out in NZ cinemas from September 24th - watch the trailer below:

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