Hearts Beat Loud, B
Rated PG-13, 97 minutes
The winning new coming-of-age dramedy "Hearts Beat Loud" marches to its own beat but hits mostly the right notes. It's one of the summer's sure-fire indie sleeper hits from director Brett Haley, who directed the affecting "The Hero" and "I'll See You in My Dreams" and who co-writes the film with Marc Basch. Occasionally the pacing is a little slow and uneven, but you'll still thoroughly enjoy the winning tunes sung in the film.
In the hip Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, single dad and record store owner Frank (Nick Offerman, lovable as ever) is preparing to send his hard-working daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons) off to college while being forced to close his vintage shop. Hoping to stay connected through their shared musical passions, Frank urges Sam to turn their weekly jam sessions into a father-daughter live act. After their first song becomes an internet breakout, the two embark on a journey of love, growing up and musical discovery.
The well-acted, charming "Hearts Beat Loud" is one of those quirky, "High Fidelity"-esque type of low-budget indie films that you hope finds an audience. Offerman, best known for character work in such things as TV's "Parks and Recreation," is touching as the widowed Dad who must let his girl go, though it's "Dope's" Clemons who scores a breakout turn here as his multi-faceted, multi-talented daughter, who's growing up much quicker than he wants.
They're strongly supported by "American Honey's" Sasha Lane as Sam's love interest, veteran Ted Danson as Frank's bar-owning buddy (recalling that he did the same in TV's "Cheers"), Blythe Danner as Frank's mentally unstable mother and as his supportive, wise landlady, "Hereditary's" Toni Collette.
The middle act in particular has some pacing problems, and Haley doesn't fully explore every angle that he could. But the soundtrack from indie folk artist Keegan Dewitt, who's worked with Haley on his other films, will more than make up for it and is the best thing about the film. You'll want to download the songs "Blink," "Everything Must Go" and the title tune, "Hearts Beat Loud." The climax in which
Offerman and Clemons sing the tunes in the record store is by far the best scene in the film.
"Hearts Beat Loud" is not a musical per se, but there's loads of good music in it, enough to make it worth your time. Check it out.