HEARTS BEAT LOUD Review: 10 (For the Love of Music)
One of my joys as a film critic is to discover small indie films and share them with a larger audience. It feels like a sort of cinematic justice, in a way; as opposed to writing about blockbusters and big budget multiplex movies where my opinion doesn’t seem to matter anyhow. But for those whose trust I have earned over the past 8 years of writing about film—it is a real treat to use that credibility and share a film with a larger audience that might discover it.
And for those that do, I would like to introduce you to HEARTS BEAT LOUD. Directed by Brett Haley who gave us the feel-good Sam Elliot film THE HERO, he returns here with one of those “musicals that aren’t a musical” films along the likes of movies like ONCE and BEGIN AGAIN. It stars Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Ted Danson, Sasha Lane, Blythe Danner and Toni Collette in a story about a father and a daughter and their love of music. Offerman plays Frank—a record store owner in Brooklyn who is a single dad to Sam (Kiersey Clemons) who is spending her last summer at home before heading to UCLA for college. Frank is a man who never really let go of his dreams and refuses to grow up, while Sam is a young woman that seems intent on growing up a bit too quickly. Like so many father and daughter duos, there is laughter and love…but also tension as the future is pulling them apart. But their common thread is their love for music, and in a one-night jam session, they create a song that ends up becoming a viral hit. It brings the two together in a fresh way but also begins to seed some new conflicts that don’t have easy resolutions.
The film has lots of other threads and subplots that weave this beautiful film together. Blythe Danner, Ted Danson, and Toni Collette turn in some nice supporting performances here, along with Sasha Lane. The film wisely avoids audience expectations. Rather than swinging wildly for convenient solutions, HEARTS BEAT LOUD chooses to focus on the Frank and Sam and the messes of their lives as well as the beauty of their music. And that music is really fantastic—created by Keegan DeWitt who composed the film's score and all of the original songs, including the title track "Hearts Beat Loud."
HEARTS BEAT LOUD is about family, music, and pursuing your passions. When everything seems to be changing, there are anchors that seem to keep us grounded. This film is a reminder that when life’s changes come at you—sometimes those things you love can keep you secure. And don't we all need that in our lives right now? My highest recommendation.