“Heart Parade,” a romantic comedy film by Netflix, is an attempt at telling a heartwarming story about fighting one’s fears that fails to deliver much on the emotional front. Young TV executive Magda travels from her busy, fast-paced Warsaw life to a more relaxed and slow-moving Krakow as part of her job, and stumbles upon love. Despite its best efforts, “Heart Parade” is not convincing and seems to lack the romantic charm.
‘Heart Parade’ Plot Summary
Magda is a determined, career-driven woman working as an executive for a popular TV channel network, hoping for a big promotion soon after her boss, Zula, retires. Nothing seems to be able to stop Magda on her drive towards building a good life, except her fear and resulting dislike of dogs, which is linked to a childhood memory of being bitten by a dog in public and feeling humiliated about it. The day of the apparent promotion arrives, as the entire office prepares for a celebration party for a successful new program launched by the channel. Magda is given responsibility for her least favorite job—having to manage Zula’s beloved pet dog, Todd. Despite carrying out the job well, for the most part, Magda loses attention from the dog as she prepares a surprise cake to be cut at the success party, and Todd slips into the room and eats up all the cake. When Zula and the entire team are about to celebrate the success and also Magda’s promotion into Zula’s role, which the boss has already announced, the entire room gets an unpleasant shock as they find a sick and suffering Todd in place of the cake. Zula is extremely angered by this and immediately cancels Magda’s promotion and also calls for her to be fired. Magda’s fiancé, Dawid, also immediately leaves her and is even caught making out with one of her colleagues, Ola. Together with her vet friend Anatol, Magda starts to think of ways to get back to good terms with Zula, and finally finds her plan—a yearly Dachshund Parade that is held in Krakow. She knew that Zula had once herself participated in the parade with her pet dachshund, Todd, and had narrowly lost the competition, which made the boss hate the parade and its organizers. Zula had even tried to bring slander to the parade by showing it in a bad light in her programs, but could not do so as the organizers did not allow any press to cover the event. Magda now plans to go over to Krakow and try to procure footage for a negative story on the parade in order to please her boss and get her job back. A spare room in an apartment listed very close to the event’s location makes it even more convenient for her.
Does Magda Really Intend To Slander The Dachshund Parade?
When Magda reaches the designated apartment in Krakow, she is shocked to see that the family living in the apartment has a dog of their own. The family includes a middle-aged single father, Krzysztof, his son Karol, and their dachshund dog, Trombone. Despite being an artist and sculptor, Krzysztof currently works at a graveyard with his good friend Wiktor and decides to remain single after his wife’s death, much to the disappointment of his neighbor, Irenka, who is clearly interested in him. Magda arrives in the middle of such a scene, and it is revealed that Karol had actually put the listing on the internet because he felt his father was too lonely at times and needed to have a girlfriend. Feeling scared and uncomfortable around a dog, Magda remains determined about her job and learns that Krzysztof and his friends are all involved in organizing the dog parade show. Realizing that this is her best chance to gather footage, she offers to help too, and is accepted into the informal committee. For the next few days, she goes around the city administrative offices to collect all the necessary documents and permissions needed to conduct an event in a public square. Used to fast, efficient, and formal work ethics practiced in Warsaw, Magda is bemused by the attitude of workers in the much more relaxed, laidback, and carefree Krakow. Here taxi drivers take their breaks seriously, even refusing customers at this time; administrative officials take their own time to start work, lazily reading their newspapers or putting nail polish on their fingers, but are always kind enough to offer tea. Gradually, Magda strikes up a friendship with Karol and helps the young child avoid bullies at his school. Karol also opens up to her about the girl he likes at school, Tosia, and Magda playfully agrees to help him with the situation. She needs to get close to Trombone as well, as she has to take him on walks and look after him when she is alone at the house, but Magda’s first moment of affection towards the dog is perhaps when she has to help it out when it falls sick. Despite being very scared and reluctant to get close, she finally manages to help the dog out with the help of Anatol. A romance also gradually starts to build up between Magda and Krzysztof as well, but both are too shy to address it. Irenka gets a hint of this possible romance and also gets a whiff of what Magda is actually doing, and the jealous woman now tries to sabotage Magda’s position in Krakow.
During all this while, Magda had been secretly taking videos and photos of various small details that could be used to make a TV presentation against the dog parade—incidents of stalls crashing down, arguments between the organizers, mismanagement during the days leading up to the event, and so on. However, she is also seen taking videos of moments that might be considered heartwarming, portraying the love that humans and their pet dogs share in and around the parade show. As she was earlier informed by Ola that Zula had forgiven her and was now waiting for the footage that she was collecting, Magda had been storing all of the videos on her laptop. One day, as Krzysztof is about to express his romantic interest in Magda, her ex-fiancé, Dawid, arrives on the scene, wanting to get back with her again. Magda, of course, rejects all his appeals and asks him to leave immediately, but Dawid is intercepted by Irenka on his way out. Realizing that this is her chance to get rid of Magda, Irenka helps Dawid get into the empty apartment and steal all the videos from Magda’s laptop. He then returns to Warsaw and runs a TV program with all the footage, making the Dachshund Parade seem like a laughable event organized by amateurs without taking into account the effect that it has on the dogs. Krzysztof and his friends are understandably angry at such a presentation, and realizing that it was all Magda’s fault, Krzysztof turns her away from his house. As the woman sorrowfully returns to Warsaw, she writes emails to the man explaining that it was never her intention to make the program that way and also sends videos of how she actually wanted the program to be—with sweet moments of Trombone, Karol, and the other organizers with their beloved dogs. While Krzysztof does not respond to her messages, Magda rejoins at her office and attends an important meeting. Here, Zula praises her for the footage that she had gathered and her overall work in the program, and also fires Dawid, as she clearly understood that the man had only stolen the videos from the hard-working Magda.
Around this same time, the Dachshund Parade has begun in Krakow, and Karol, who was supposed to be performing with Trombone, is very scared of public humiliation. Wiktor tries to encourage the boy, but when nothing else works, he calls up Magda, informing her of the situation, and asks her to immediately come to Krakow, for it is only she who can help Karol and Trombone. Magda hears all of this on the phone while Zula keeps calling her back to the important meeting. At a crossroads between following her career or her love, Magda now has to decide which way to go.
‘Heart Parade’ Ending Explained: What Does Magda Ultimately Choose, Career Or Love?
As was becoming quite obvious through the predictable narrative of ‘Heart Parade,’ Magda chooses her newfound love over her ambitious career, and tells Zula that she wants to quit the job. She then immediately calls for Anatol’s help, and the friend takes her to Krakow on his bike. As the dog parade comes towards its end, the time for Karol’s performance comes closer. Wiktor manages to buy some more time with a singing performance on stage, and by this time, Magda arrives. Karol and Trombone take the stage, and the young boy can hardly manage the dog’s actions, and the crowd erupts in laughter. As Magda gets over her own fear of dogs and walks through a place crowded with many dogs, she goes by the side of the stage and helps Karol with the instructions he should give to Trombone. With this boost of confidence, Karol beautifully leads Trombone through one trick after another, and the crowd now erupts with claps and praises. Tosia, who was present in the crowd, asks Karol out on a date, and Wiktor also seems to have found a romantic interest in Anatol. Finally, Magda approaches Krzysztof and apologizes for her earlier actions, saying how her life has completely changed after she came to Krakow and met him and his friends. The two ultimately reconcile, as Krzysztof asks Magda to accompany him and Karol on a weekend trip, and potentially to many more other weekends in the future.
With very little to no depth in either the plot or the characters, Magda always seemed like a character who was destined to fall in love and find a new family. “Heart Parade” brings nothing new to the usually forgettable Netflix rom-com collection, and would ultimately be a disappointment to ardent followers of the genre.
“Heart Parade” is a 2022 Drama Romance Film directed by Filip Zylber.