One of the trends seeming particularly hot at this year’s Sundance Film Festival is the father/daughter bond. We’ve seen this take a variety of different forms this year, but director Brett Haley’s newest film Hearts Beat Loud, is by far of the most enjoyable. The musical dramedy debuted Friday January 26th as the festival’s closing night film.
Hearts Beat Loud follows musican turned struggling record store owner Frank Fisher (Nick Offerman). After the death of his wife, it has just been Frank and his daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons) against the world. However, with Sam quickly approaching the start of college, Frank is facing the end of that part of his life as he knows it. To make matters worse, his landlord (Toni Collette) is raising the rent on his record store. So not only will he loose his daughter, but also his business in the same fell swoop. However, the two must explore their bond when they write a song together which proves to be a minor Spotify hit. Hearts Beat Loud comes from director Brett Haley from a script penned by Haley and writing partner Marc Basch.
The success of Hearts Beat Loud hangs on Offerman and Clemons’ depiction of the father/daughter relationship. Their chemistry is effortless and relatable. We see the two (who have only had each other) facing the potential of growing apart. The relationship feels incredibly realistic as we see them squabble like parent and child, but then it’s incredibly clear just how similar they are. Dramas like this often find themselves guilty of making one character or the other the villain or unlikable, but this film resists that. Frank and Sam are both likable, fun and above all, realistic.
Haley and the film’s creative team deserves further applause for the crafting of Sam’s relationship with her girlfriend Rose (the amazing Sasha Lane). It is refreshing to see this film develop Rose and Sam’s relationship as something completely sweet and one-hundred percent normal. When questioned about the relationship during the film’s Q&A, Haley replied that he went to Lane and Clemons (both actresses identify as queer), and asked them how the relationship should be depicted. Representation matters. Past films often shied away from these relationships (especially when dealing with such young leads). But if this trend in cinema continues, we’re hopefully on the path to further showing an increased number of normalized queer relationships on screen.
Hearts Beat Loud is best described as a musical very much in the vein as John Carney’s films like Sing Street and Begin Again. The music comes from Keegan DeWitt. Kiersey Clemons absolutely slays in her musical performance. The young actress sings lead on each of the tracks, and shows incredible power and range. Offerman also backs up on each of the tracks and shows impressive range as well. Most audiences are most familiar with Offerman from his run on Parks and Rec as the iconic Ron Swanson. While the actor has experimented with musical side projects, this is a largely unexplored side to his career. Music fans of the indie pop persuasion are sure to find a song they can enjoy on the soundtrack. Just take my money!
Heart’s Beat Loud is a fun and enjoyable musical. The family dramedy brings heartwarming, solid performances from Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons. The film features a heartwarming depiction of the joys, pain and emotions behind the ever complicated family dynamic. This movie features not only a fun musical, but also a strong character piece. Fans of films like Sing Street and Begin Again are sure to like Hearts Beat Loud.
While Hearts Beat Loud already nailed down a distribution deal, a release date is still pending. Stay tuned to Geek Girl Authority for more details.
Check out Geek Girl Authority’s coverage of the Sundance Film Festival, here.