Directed by: Brett Haley
Co-Written by: Brett Haley, Marc Basch
Produced by: Houston King, Sam Bisbee, Sam Slater
Original Songs/Music: Keegan Dewitt
Starring: Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Ted Danson, Toni Collette, Sasha Lane, Blyth Danner.
Hearts Beat Loud is one of those films that can go either way – a father and daughter who write songs and play together in a band?! Cheesy!
But when I saw Nick Offerman was starring, I knew it couldn’t be all bad.
Featuring the original songs and music by Keegan Dewitt, there’s an indie flavour as one-time musician and record shop owner Frank plays melody on guitar while his daughter, Sam sings and plays keyboard.
When they record a song and Frank uploads the track to Spotify, suddenly becoming a band for real is now a possibility when their song is selected to be part of the ‘New Indie Mix’, reaching thousands of listeners – a success at a time when Frank’s future at the record store looks bleak while Sam’s about to leave to study pre-med at college.
Director Brett Haley wanted to make a musical where the songs are grounded in real-life situations, where the characters express through music. And the soundtrack makes the film work because the music is gold. As Frank (Nick Offerman) says of Sam’s (Kiersey Clemons) song and hook for the film, ‘Hearts Beat Loud’, “it just has to have a feeling – this has feeling”.
Sure, OK, it does get a bit cheesy near the end with enthusiasm as ‘We’re Not A Band’ plays their first ever performance… But I was already pretty emotional by that stage with Frank’s store, Red Hook Records about to close and seeing him struggle with a resistive teen daughter on his own and an ailing mother Marianne (Blyth Danner) and the acceptance of what will never be.
And there’s some gems here like Frank telling Sam, ‘When life hands you conundrums you turn them into art.’
It’s all very life-affirming and inventive, creative and sweet.
We see the relationship between father and daughter and their community of friends from bar-owner, Dave (Ted Danson), landlady Leslie (Toni Collette) and Sam’s girlfriend Rose (Sasha Lane) all part of the growing process of father and daughter as they look to their next stage in life while remaining close.
It’s an accepting, bitter-sweet story that had me, I admit, crying happy tears because it’s hard to move on and grow and change. But it’s also healthy and good.
Director and co-writer Brett Haley states, “Given the level of anxiety in the world right now, it was very important to make a film that makes people feel good, and that reminds people of the simple goodness in the world and in ordinary life.”
I’d happily buy the guitar melody of, ‘Everything Has To Go’. And seeing Nick Offerman playing guitar was definitely a treat.
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