Movie Reviews

Hearts Beat Loud – A Film That Only Means Well

With all the stress we go through in our day-to-day, can we just get one of these “cute thing where father and daughter play music and nothing bad happens” movies as a monthly affair? Thanks.

Synopsis: In the hip Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, single dad and record store owner Frank is preparing to send his hard-working daughter Sam 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 sesh” 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. (levelFilm)

Starring: Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, and Ted Danson

Writers: Brett Haley and Marc Basch

Director: Brett Haley

Rating: PG (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)

Running Time: 97mins

Trailer: 

Hearts Beat Loud is a film that has every right to be good, and it’s not only an adorable, well told family dramedy, but also one of the best films of the year. Director Brett Haley, the mind behind films like I’ll See You In My Dreams and one of the best films of 2017 in The Hero, takes everything he’s done so well in the past, and truly puts it under the spotlight here.

The way the brilliant talents involved elevate the already great story even further is a massive highlight here. The fact that the two leads, Offerman and Clemons as Frank and Sam Fisher, are a father-daughter music duo in itself brings a key piece to the story, but the real highlight within it is the motivations they have- as we discover more about the characters and their lives outside of their relationship, we get to learn about the real reasons as to why they need to be playing together to push through some personal tragedies they had to face themselves.

Tthe ensemble here is impeccable. Offerman brings something new to the table here with Frank, playing a father figure- in opposition to most of the roles he gets these days that tend to purely be comic relief. His character needed to be well written and likable for this film to work, so Haley and Offerman collaborate to make Frank one of the more memorable film characters of the year. Clemons, who is brilliant as Sam, also falls into the same comedy-heavy category as Offerman. Similarly, her arc is great, and the way the pair works together is a large portion of what makes this film so great (especially because of the simple storyline at hand). Toni Collette (who’s been having quite the year, by the way) and Ted Danson shine in minor roles as well.

Come for the heartfelt story, stay for the catchy tunes! All the songs that the characters created in the film were composed by Keegan Dewitt, and brilliantly performed by Offerman and Clemons. The indie-pop-rock style the songs have going for them are very unique and memorable, and there’s definitely multiple songs that are definitely worthy of award recognition.

As much as it is easy to call the film perfect, it still has it’s minor issues. The biggest gripe here is that there isn’t anything super unique here. You know how its going to go before you are even seated, and it doesn’t really have anything super different to offer than similar films. However, the talent involved, the great writing and the incredible music make up for these minor flaws, for the most part.

Heart Beats Loud is by the pure definition of well-meant. It’s simply a film that is here to be sweet, innocent, and get us through the worst of days- and it does a hell of a job at that. The great acting, chemistry, and music as well as a true emotional pull make this one of the highlights of the year. Sure, it may not be the most original, life changing story ever, but it’s a damn feel good film, and one of the best of it’s kind.

Score: 7.5/10

Follow me on twitter @daniel_azbel and on letterboxd @danthemovieman.

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