There seems to be a new trend where every Summer, audiences receive a musically-savvy indie. Two years ago, movie goers relished in Sing Street, followed by Patti Cake$ the year after. This season, move goers will be put under a spell by Hearts Beat Loud, an effortlessly charming and heartwarming dramedy from writer/director Brett Haley (The Hero).
Haley reunites with co-writer Marc Basch to tell a story about a record shop on the verge of relevancy and its owner, former musician Frank Fisher (Nick Offerman). Frank can, unfortunately, foresee the future of his store, and admits to his landlord Leslie (Toni Collette) that he’s planning to close his doors for good. He can still sense opportunity though, which is why he’s ecstatic when an average jam session with his academically-driven daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons) creates a hip song that could measure up to current mainstream hits. Somewhat unbeknownst to Sam, Frank champions their song by unleashing it to the public where it finds casual success online, and potentially opening a new career for the talented duo.
Equal parts High Fidelity and Once, Hearts Beat Loud is an optimistic movie that celebrates change and culture. It’s a bummer watching Frank’s barren store receive indifferent reception from customers that show indifference towards his store’s legacy but, just as Frank is, we’re excited to watch a resurgence organically bloom. Offerman and Clemons have an infectiously fun father-daughter dynamic, especially since Offerman’s trademark glib wit translates very well into the role of a delightfully goofy dad. Clemons, continuing to be a force of nature in the projects she chooses, is given a balancing act. She dives into the creative aspects of Hearts Beat Loud with sheer love and an incredible voice, but she stays committed to her character’s scholarly aspirations. This creates conflict for the musicians, but the audience can’t pick a side – we want both of these wonderful characters to succeed.
The music, not to mention, is addictive. Luckily for us, the third act features a full-length concert from Frank and Sam; truly emphasizing how the film plays as a musical in its own right. Hearts Beat Loud, isn’t just great, it’s a jack-of-all-trades.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie