Hearts Beat Loud is a refreshing indie dramedy about the healing power of music. In the same way, John Carney uses these themes in films like Once, and Sing Street, director Brett Haley accomplishes a lot by making this feel as authentic as possible in every moment and making every important emotional beat hit the way it needs to.
Frank is a widowed onetime musician who owns a record store that’s about to go under. His daughter Sam, whom he’s struggled to connect with for some time, is about to go off to college in the fall. He’s tried to convince her to make music with him for years, and one day, they unwittingly begin to. As opportunities begin to arise from their music, emotions are heightened and everyone’s life path suddenly becomes much more complicated.
I want to first say that I loved this movie. I loved every moment, but it’s also exactly my kind of movie. It’s a sweet, Sundance-y, indie dramedy tearjerker that wears its emotions on its sleeve. It doesn’t break new ground in any way, but it’s always exuberant and fun. It touches on more serious themes but does so in a way that doesn’t bring down the mood. Hearts Beat Loud knows exactly what it is. It’s about the younger and older generations finding that they share much more in common than they might think. It’s about accepting that your dreams and life goals might not be realistic, but that they’re worth fighting for. It’s also about never giving up on yourself, no matter what.
Nick Offerman is charming in a very unique way, and this is the first time I can remember that he’s really been asked to carry a film. He’s very good, nailing every joke and every important emotional moment easily. He also has excellent, easy chemistry with Keirsey Clemmons, who plays his daughter Sam. She’s terrific as well. Their dynamic has a lived-in quality where they actually feel like father and daughter. Clemons is also a gifted musician. When the film comes to life in a song, she blows the audience away. The supporting cast is rounded out with familiar faces – Toni Collette, Blythe Danner, and Ted Danson. Everyone adds something unique and it’s a joy to watch each one.
Hearts Beat Loud invites the viewer to connect with two relatable characters for a few hours, have a few laughs, and enjoy some very good music. In an already crowded summer blockbuster landscape, it might be just what we need. It’s heartwarming, funny and full of charismatic performers doing great work. It may not be a game changer, and it likely won’t be remembered around awards season, but it’s a film I’ll watch and love for years to come. You may have heard this song before, but when you hear this one, you’ll play it loud.