June 25, 2018

SCREEN | Because Our 'Hearts Beat Loud'

"When life gives you a conundrum, make art out of it."
Nick Offerman Ted Danson Brett Haley | Hearts Beat Loud

Indie filmmaker Brett Haley's musically-tinged, low-stakes dramedy about father/daughter bonding is imminently endearing and sweet, if ultimately inconsequential. Revolving around Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons as an aging Brooklyn rock guitarist turned Red Hook record store owner and his UCLA pre-med bound teenage daughter, the musical Hearts Beat Loud is entirely focused on their winning and unique relationship.

The breezy story about the pair kind of starting a band and rediscovering each other, as both set out for oncoming life changes, makes for a delightfully charged film about growing up at any age. Set during the summer before Clemon's Sam goes off to college, there's a strange urgency despite the relative casual nature of the family concerns explored.

The quietly great cast of supporting players, made up of Ted Danson as a bartender no less, Sasha Lane as Clemon's girlfirend, Blythe Danner as the grandmother, and Toni Collette as their landlord, really flesh out their little neighbourhood and insular worldview infused with hip, contemporary pop rock beats.

Marc Basch and Haley's script is far from unpredictable, but the expected story beats heightened by the original feeling music and songs from composer Keegan DeWitt. Despite some highly implausible plot points about record labels and gig opportunities, the emotions of situations feel real and genuine enough elevated by some truly great musical bits.

Nick Offerman Brett Haley | Hearts Beat Loud

The optimism and upbeat nature of Haley's film is so refreshing despite some sad subject relating to the struggles of creating art as a career and losing family. The performances, banter, and general moments of life highlight their specific experiences beyond ours and expresses artistic talent with thoughtful touches.

There's one particular scene where Offerman's Frank first hears his and Sam's song streaming in a coffee shop and his subtle act of physical comedy makes the film worth watching in its entirely alone. It's a fine antidote to the higher stakes perils of the outside real world.

Offerman and Clemons are delightfully magnetic as an offbeat father/daughter pairing. The film rests on their dynamic and the low-key but catchy sounding music repeated throughout. The emotional performances make Hearts Beat Loud feel so authentic and real. It's a modest film but a damn fine jam sesh.

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