The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy
The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy is a 2000 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Greg Berlanti. It follows the lives of a group of gay friends in West Hollywood, centered on a restaurant owned by the fatherly Jack (John Mahoney) and the softball team he sponsors. The friends rely on each other for friendship and support as they search for love, deal with loss, and discover themselves.
|The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Greg Berlanti|
|Written by||Greg Berlanti|
|Music by||Christophe Beck|
|Edited by||Todd Busch|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Classics|
|Box office||$2 million|
The Broken Hearts Club was Berlanti's first feature film, based around his circle of friends at the time. The movie was met with generally favorable reviews from critics, receiving praise for portraying homosexuality as normal and its characters as average gay men. The film focuses on "the universal themes of romance, acceptance and family", as opposed to AIDS, coming out, and sex, which are more controversial and stereotypical topics commonly covered in LGBT films.
The film follows the lives of a group of gay friends in West Hollywood. Among the group is Dennis (Timothy Olyphant), a photographer who often holds the group together; Cole (Dean Cain) a handsome, charismatic actor who — often unwittingly — ends up with other people's boyfriends; Benji (Zach Braff), the youngest member of the group, with a penchant for gym-bodied men, who finds himself going through some bad times; Howie (Matt McGrath), a psychology student who is known for overthinking every situation; Patrick (Ben Weber), the cynic of the group; and Taylor (Billy Porter), who has just broken up with his long-term boyfriend.
Guiding them is restaurant owner Jack (John Mahoney) who provides them with advice and jobs for some of them who work part-time as servers at his restaurant. But when tragedy strikes, and the group's newest member, 23-year-old Kevin (Andrew Keegan), attempts to fit in, their friendships are put to the test.
The film also stars Nia Long, Mary McCormack and Justin Theroux, and features a cameo by Kerr Smith, who knew the director through their work on Dawson's Creek and enjoyed the script so much he asked to be a part of it, and Jennifer Coolidge as the hairdresser Betty, that all the guys, with the exception of Howie, go to for hair therapy.
The Broken Hearts Club was written by Greg Berlanti about his own circle of friends at the time; the Howie/Marshall storyline is semi-autobiographical to a relationship Berlanti once had. The film had a working title of The Broken Hearts League as well as 8x10's, a term Berlanti's sister used to describe the men he dated.
Filming took place over the course of 20 days on an estimated budget of USD$1,000,000. The movie was filmed in Los Angeles and West Hollywood, while restaurant exteriors and interiors were shot in Long Beach. The hardware store scene was filmed in Laurel Hardware Company in West Hollywood, which closed in 2009. The hospital used in the film was an abandoned hospital which the crew had to clean before they could film. The film was distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment and its subsidiary Sony Pictures Classics and produced by Banner Entertainment and Meanwhile Films.
The original music for The Broken Hearts Club was scored by Canadian composer Christophe Beck. The film also made use of songs by The Carpenters, covered by Mary Beth Maziarz. On September 19, 2000, WILL Records (now Lakeshore Records) released the film's soundtrack.
- "Love Machine, Part 1" – The Miracles
- "From Here to Eternity" (radio edit) – Giorgio Moroder vs. Danny Tenaglia
- "Let the Music Play" (Junior Vasquez Mix) – Shannon
- "Beg for It" (Mad Tizzy Mix) – Barry Harris
- "Time for Love" – Kim English
- "Share My Joy" – GTS featuring Loleatta Holloway
- "Learn2Love" – Kim English
- "Young Hearts Run Free" – Kym Mazelle
- "(They Long to Be) Close to You" – Mary Beth Maziarz
- "We've Only Just Begun" – Mary Beth Maziarz
The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 29, 2000. It received a limited release on September 29, 2000, followed by a wide release on October 20, 2000. The Broken Hearts Club was released on Region 1 DVD by Sony Pictures on March 6, 2001. It was released on Region 2 DVD on November 5.
In its opening weekend, showing at seven theaters, the film made $109,694. Two weeks later, the film made $153,468 as it reached twenty-eight screens and the week later, it grossed $175,553 as it reached fifty-six. In its eighth week of release, The Broken Hearts Club played at sixty-two theaters. The film's domestic gross totaled $1,746,585 after twelve weeks of release. The movie was released in a number of countries in 2001 and played at various gay and lesbian film festivals worldwide. The Broken Hearts Club grossed $272,536 outside of the United States, bringing its worldwide gross to $2,019,121.
The movie review website Rotten Tomatoes reports a 64% approval rating, based on 28 reviews, with an average score of 6.03/10. The site's consensus states that the film "often feels like an amalgam of (19)70s sitcoms – though a hunky lead and a sweet central romance provide soapy delights". According to Metacritic, the film has scored 51% based on 17 reviews, indicating mixed or average reviews. Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four, praising the film's positivity and "the ordinariness of its characters and what they talk about." Ebert noted that "instead of angst, Freudian analysis, despair and self-hate, the new generation sounds like the cast of a sitcom, trading laugh lines and fuzzy truisms." CNN.com's Paul Clinton also lauded The Broken Hearts Club for focusing on "the universal themes of romance, acceptance and family", as opposed to AIDS, coming out, and sex. Clinton viewed the film as "reminiscent of those classic films that explored the complex dynamics of friendship", calling it "a heartwarming, glorious movie for anyone who has ever had a friend – or a family."
Lisa Schwarzbaum from Entertainment Weekly called it "a majority oriented movie that assumes sophisticated familiarity with a sexual minority". Jami Bernard from Daily News commented "It’s the first mainstream gay movie that feels totally comfortable in its shoes". Desmond Ryan from Philadelphia Inquirer described the film as having an "undemanding and reassuring amiability that made it a crowd-pleaser at Sundance."
On the other hand, Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle felt the characters were "boring" and "uninteresting". Bob Longino of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution summarized the movie as "sometimes funny, sometimes a yawn".
The film was often compared to 1970s The Boys in the Band, directed by William Friedkin, although Ebert and LaSalle both felt that The Broken Hearts Club was generally more upbeat and optimistic. Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly exclaimed that the film shows "how far homosexual characters have come since The Boys in the Band, sad AIDS dramas, and cute identity peekaboo sitcoms". Longino, however, commented that "Broken Hearts doesn't break much new ground. Actually, The Boys in the Band did the groundbreaking 30 years ago." Dennis Lim of The Village Voice titled his review "Boys in the Bland".
- Clinton, Paul (October 3, 2000). "See 'The Broken Hearts Club' with someone special". CNN. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
- "Trivia for The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy (2000)". Internet Movie Database. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- "Release dates for The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy (2000)". Internet Movie Database. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- "Filming locations for The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy (2000)". Internet Movie Database. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- "Company credits for The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy (2000)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- "Full cast and crew". Internet Movie Database. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- "The Broken Hearts Club (2000 Film) [Soundtrack]". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- "The Broken Hearts Club (2000)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- "DVD details for The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy (2000)". Internet Movie Database. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- "Box office / business for The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy (2000)". Internet Movie Database. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- "The Broken Hearts Club (Weekend)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- "The Broken Hearts Club (Foreign)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- "The Broken Hearts Club (Summary)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- "The Broken Heart's Club (2000)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 2019-07-14.
- "Broken Hearts Club, The". Metacritic. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- Roger Ebert (2000-11-10). "The Broken Hearts Club". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- Alexander Ryll (2014). "Essential Gay Themed Films To Watch, The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy". Gay Essential. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
- Mick LaSalle (2000-10-06). "'Broken Hearts' gets boring fast". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- Bob Longino. "The Broken Hearts Club". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on 2012-02-24. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
- Lisa Schwarzbaum (2000-09-26). "The Broken Hearts Club (2000)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- Dennis Lim (2000-09-26). "Boys in the Bland". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2010-04-10.