You aren’t going to see Hearts Beat Loud nominated for any Oscars this year, nor will you see it plastered all over every inch of the Internet. This indie film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival back in January, got a limited US release in June, made just under $3 million at the box office, and is now available to rent on Amazon Prime for just $0.99.
All of these things do not change the fact that Hearts Beat Loud is one of the most effortlessly likable films not just in 2018, but in recent memory. Fueled by endearing lead performances, an all-star supporting cast, and top-notch music this film made an impression on me in its first act.
Hearts Beats Loud follows a widower, Frank and his daughter Sam. Frank, played by Nick Offerman, was in a band with his late wife, and he has been trying to carry on the musical tradition with his daughter, played by Kiersey Clemons, who is studying to go to medical school out in California. During one of their late-night jam sessions, they write and record a song that ends up being a hit on Spotify. Sam is then faced with an important question: does she continue to pursue medical school, or does she pursue music with her father?
The thing that really helps sell this film is its cast. In fact, I was surprised at how star-studded this little indie film (made on a budget of just $2 million) is. In supporting roles are Ted Danson, Sasha Lane, Toni Collette, and Blythe Danner; that is a hell of a lineup! Offerman and Clemons are perfectly cast as the father/daughter duo, and their chemistry is believable. Offerman is in top form, managing to switch between grieving widower, supportive father, and excited music enthusiast with ease, while Kiersey Clemons steals all of her scenes with her magnetic voice and her impressive screen presence.
Best of all, the music is really good. There is a lot of importance placed on “feeling” in this film — in fact, there is one scene where Frank explains to his daughter that lyrics don’t need to make sense if the feeling is there — and these songs drip with emotion, whether it’s the titular song “Hearts Beat Loud” or the emotional “Everything Must Go”.
The narrative does stumble in places, mainly in its more dramatic moments where the script relies on old cliches to push the narrative forward. These moments don’t derail the entire film, though, and the cast helps ground these conventional moments with emotional clarity.
Overall, I implore you to go watch Hearts Beat Loud at your next opportunity. Not only is it a fun, enjoyable film that is endearing, funny, and well made, it is the kind of feel-good antidote we need in our troubling times.
“HEARTS BEAT LOUD” ★★★½
directed by BRETT HALEY
written by BRETT HALEY and MARC BASCH
Released on June 8, 2018 ||’PG-13 || 97 MIN