Florida Film Festival: Hearts Beat Loud (2018) reviewed by Jonathan Berk

Hearts Beat Loud (2018) is the newest film from director Brett Haley. There is so much to enjoy in this movie from the cast to the music. The film stars Nick Offerman, who was in a supporting role in Haley’s last film The Hero (2017), playing a dad who is going through several major life changes. However, it also stars Kiersey Clemons as Offerman’s daughter who is beyond excited about going off to UCLA, but finding a young love makes the decision all the more challenging.

Hearts Beat Loud is a film that everyone Must See

Frank Fisher (Offerman) has decided he has to close his vinyl record store during the same summer that his daughter Samantha (Clemons) is going off to college. In an effort to enjoy their time together, he begins pushing her to form a band with him. Their music both brings them together but puts them at odds with one another, but not in an overdramatic fictional way. Haley and writing partner Marc Basch has crafted a very natural story that is full of love, music, and characters that feel lived in.

His cast doesn’t stop with Offerman and Clemons, although both are absolutely amazing. Toni Collette plays Frank’s landlord, Leslie, and gets some great moments. The relationship and history crafted between her and Frank is so organic and feels like we’ve known them for years even though there isn’t much exposition to inform us of their history. The same is true with Ted Danson’s Dave, a long time friend of Frank’s and bartender of his favorite watering hole. They clearly have a lot of history and the chemistry between the actors conveys that.

So much to love about this movie…

Besides the relationship and intertwining rites-of-passage stories of Samantha and Frank, the budding love story between Samantha and Rose (Sasha Lane) really takes center stage. There is no drama about the fact that this is a lesbian relationship. This isn’t a coming out story or Frank dealing with new information. It’s just a love story and a powerful one. Haley crafts the story with a subtle hand that lands so powerful. There is no way to watch this film and question the love the two characters have for one another. Their performances are fantastic and the few scenes the two have together left a lasting impression.

The music of the film is at the core of the characters and the story. Fortunately, Keegan DeWitt has written some great songs and gets great performance for the music in the film. Haley was at the screening on Monday, April 10th at the Florida Film Festival and said that he wrote the film like a musical. The songs tell the story, but they aren’t out of nowhere. Both Frank and Samantha perform the songs in real ways and it definitely helps move the story through the lyrics and the forming of the “band” that Frank so desperately wants.

Final thoughts…

Hearts Beat Loud is a fantastic movie that is an absolutely joyous experience to watch. Offerman and Clemons demand your attention and the music compels you to give it to them. It’s such a naturalistic film that has the ups and downs that life can offer but manages to be a truly feel-good experience. Hearts Beat Loud earns the Must See rating.

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