Geraldine Viswanathan who is ripping up the romantic comedy rulebook

Geraldine Viswanathan is just that person, and in The Broken Hearts Gallery, she lights up the screen as Lucy, an art gallerist who attempts to meant her broken heart by creating an exhibit full of items from people’s past relationships.

In the process Geraldine makes Lucy the relatable NBF we all want in our lives.

The leading woman in romantic comedies has long needed to be looked at, re-evaluated and cast as someone who fully reflects the world we actually live in.

Here, the Australian actress of Blockers and Bad Education fame talks sisterhood, learning to be her own best friend, representation and talking to teddy bears… see I told you she was relatable…

Well, babe, what a weird time for such an amazing film to be coming out. You are sen-fricking-sational in it. What attracted you to The Broken Hearts Gallery?

I feel like when I read the script, I just immediately wanted to be Lucy’s best friend. I met with the director Natalie (Krinksy) and that’s all her energy, too. I just fell in love with her, the script and the character simultaneously. It just felt like it would be a party!

Speaking of it being a party what was the funniest moment for you whilst filming?

We had a lot of good dance moments. I feel there are a couple of montage pieces that we did, I think, especially when we were building the hotel Natalie would play music on set and keep everyone’s spirits lifted, and we would just end up having these little dance parties that ended up making it into the movie all of the time! One lesson I will take from this is to listen to more Lizzo – we listened to a lot of Lizzo when filming.

The Broken Hearts Gallery is very much reinventing the narrative around romantic comedies – what kind of conversations do you want this to start?

I feel like when people see it, I imagine that we will all reflect on their own heartbreaks and maybe the things that we’ve held onto. I actually have two boxes under the bed of mementos. It’s not even just of broke relationships, I feel like I also just keep mementos of any good times, even with friends or family, just anything where I’m like, “Wow, this is a really beautiful moment. I want to remember this.”

I will absolutely take a little souvenir and then look at it in a couple of years and be like, “Oh, I remember that.” It’s very nostalgic. I also feel this is such a beautiful time in life, being a 20-something with your best friends in an incredible city.

This isn’t just about letting go of old relationships it’s also about letting go of learnt behaviours. What’s something you’ve learned to let go of, personally?

Oh my gosh, good question. I think I’m also working on a detachment to, and my relationship with, material things. I’ve lived a very nomadic lifestyle for the past couple of years and I think stuff can really weigh you down. Sometimes it does stress me out, not knowing where my things are and not being with them. But they are just temporary! You can’t talk to them although I definitely do it with my stuffed animals when I am alone – it just feels good to talk out loud!

How has this representation of sisterhood on and off screen helped you?

Oh, that’s really nice! It really did feel such a sisterhood with my co-stars Molly and Phillipa and our director, Natalie. We also had female producers, we had a female script supervisor and Natalie was the glue sticking is all together – a lot of the people on set were women and it really did feel like this holy bond.

Those kinds of relationships just feel so transcendent and I was so grateful that we all just had this really genuine connection across all the women involved with this. We were also just really trusting of each other and there was always support at all times which was really comforting, especially when making a movie in a short amount of time can be quite intense. So, I was really grateful for the sisterhood on this.

Do you feel like that sisterhood gave you a safe space to be listened to and heard?

Definitely. I feel like I look up to all those women a lot and I think they all have this very strong sense of self. I think it’s really inspiring, and I do feel like they’ve made me feel a lot stronger in myself. They’re such confidence-boosters, like if I’m ever feeling down or I don’t know what to do, those are the ladies I turn to now.

Did you feel ever reflected or seen growing up?

I was born in ’95 and definitely didn’t feel like I saw myself reflected on the screen, especially in romantic comedies. I think it was pretty much exclusively skinny, white girls. So, I feel very grateful that Natalie chose me for this and that this moment in time we are opening things up.

We are kind of bored of seeing the same faces on screen and I think it just makes total sense that you would just hire someone who is more relatable, rather than a supermodel.

I never even really dreamed of this far ahead, I think because I never saw it actually happening. I was always like, “Oh, I’ll just be a guest star here and be the best friend here.” I didn’t even really dream of being the girl in a rom-com because I didn’t really even think that could happen. So, this is very surreal.

The themes of self-love and self-acceptance are so prominent in this. What has your own journey with that been like?

I feel like it’s a process. It’s still in the works and it probably never ends this journey of self-love. I do think I’ve been lucky, and I thank my parents for this as they gave me a baseline confidence. Even in high school when I was not that cool, I was able to tell myself, “That’s okay. I think you’re all right.” Now I am just working on talking to myself like I’m my own friend. I feel like that really helps. I would never say to my friends anything destructive or mean, so why would I do that to myself? I feel like that’s been helpful in these last couple of years.

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