Hearts Beat Loud: The Cutesy Indie Feel Good Hit Of The Summer
Writer/Director Brett Haley and screenwriter Marc Basch reteam for their third collaboration, Hearts Beat Loud, the cutesy indie feel good film of the summer that colors well within the lines and will have you wanting to start a rock band, preferably with your dad.
I put Hearts Beat Loud alongside a special group of feel good fare that exudes an overabundance of heartwarming optimism, namely last year's delightful indie Brigsby Bear and 2008's Be Kind Rewind. However, Hearts never really strives to be as outwardly creative in the visual sense, and trades in the visual ingenuity for some solidly enjoyable indie rock tunage.
The music, which I found to be fun and catchy (similar to 2016's Sing Street), could serve as an Achilles heel, depending on how hypercritical you may be about any hipsterisms — one audience member at my screening audibly groaned when Nick Offerman's character pushes Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion onto Toni Colette. Regardless of how you feel about the music and musical references, I think we can all agree that Kiersey Clemons has some solid pipes, which composer Keegan Dewitt provides some delightful synth tones for her to showcase her talent over; there's a potential crossover music career ahead of her.
The film's focus is the father/daughter relationship, which is so tenderly rendered, and it follows them both in a transition in both of their lives. As the pair navigate these transitional phases, they use music as an outlet to confront their feelings, which ends up evolving their relationship in endearing ways. The film is not perfect, but there is an electric and energizing quality to the execution and performances that will work you over if you surrender yourself over to its charms.
Far and away the best quality to the film is how it incorporates queer elements without batting an eye or calling any unnecessary attention to it. It's just perceived as normal and natural, as it should be. This isn't even a step in the right direction, it is the direction.
The chemistry between Kiersey Clemons and Nick Offerman feels very authentic, and while Offerman may not be as fantastic here as he is with his television personas, it's nice to see him show new shades and flex some versatility. Toni Colette, Ted Danson (who is essentially playing a mashing of his character from Cheers and Bored to Death), and Sasha Lane pepper the film with solid support. The only out of place element in both story and casting is Blythe Danner, who doesn't narratively provide any enhancements and doesn't really have a moment to properly shine.
I may be a little biased on this type of film — the record store show flooded me with nostalgia for the days that I would hangout and see free shows at Trailer Space Records in Austin, which, like Offerman's record store, has since been shutdown and closed up — but there's an fairly undeniable charm here. While the film is certainly contented to color comfortably in the lines, it does so with heart and feeling. Hearts Beat Loud is not just a film, it's something you want to put on your turntable.
Rating: 3.5 headphones outta 5.
What did you think? Did Hearts Beat Loud warm you up or chill you out? Was it too "hipster"? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and as always, remember to viddy well!