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Review: Hearts Beat Loud

June 22, 2018

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

There are some films that are made to make you feel good, and Hearts Beat Loud is one of them.  The latest from writer-director Brett Haley, who also made the similarly wonderful I’ll See You in My Dreams in 2015, this is a charming father-daughter dramedy that drew praise at Sundance and hits the right notes.

The film follows Frank Fisher (Nick Offerman), a widowed father who runs an independent record shop in Brooklyn, and has always had dreams of starting a band with his daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons), who is spending her last summer at home before moving away to university.

When they end up creating a song together during one of their nightly jam sessions – a catchy indie rock track called “Hearts Beat Loud” – Frank impulsively puts the recording on Spotify, and they end up with a small hit on their hands.  The joint musical venture helps Frank comes to terms with his daughter leaving home and the closing of his record shop, which is complicated by the romantic sparks that start to fly between him and his landlord Leslie (Toni Collette).

The story takes place over the summer as the father and daughter try to navigate their newfound success as musicians, leading to a collection of gently funny and tender moments along the way.  The original songs that they write and perform throughout the film are all easy on the ears, complimented by the other indie pop songs that appear on the soundtrack.  While the beats of the story are thoroughly predictable, the film itself is so enjoyable that it’s hard to really mind, and the simple plot is further elevated by the solid performances.

Nick Offerman brings a nicely textured quality to his hipster dad character, and he shares a charming sort of parental chemistry with Kiersey Clemons, who shines in a breakout role.  They are backed up by a strong supporting cast that also includes American Honey star Sasha Lane as Sam’s girlfriend, Blythe Danner as Frank’s forgetful mother, and Ted Danson as a weed-smoking bartender.  The best thing that can be said about Hearts Beat Loud is that this is a likeable film that is populated by likeable characters, and it’s worth seeing if you’re looking for something low-key that will put a smile on your face.

Hearts Beat Loud is now playing in limited release at Cineplex Cinemas Varsity in Toronto.

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