Can a father-daughter music team fit the beginnings of a successful career into the daughter’s last summer before college?
In “Hearts Beat Loud,” July’s feature film at Charleston’s Underground Cinema, Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons play family members that face that major challenge.
The 97-minute drama/comedy film stars Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”) as Frank Fisher and Clemons (“Dope”) as his daughter Sam, as well as Ted Danson, Toni Collette, Sasha Lane and Blythe Danner in supporting roles.
Frank runs a record store in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood, where he and his daughter have regular jam sessions. During one session, Frank uploads one of their songs to Spotify, where it becomes a hit.
With an offer of a recording contract, Frank tries to convince Sam to form a band with him, but Sam is beginning pre-med studies in the fall. She also has a budding romance with neighborhood artist Rose (Lane) and Frank is experiencing business troubles.
Frank is a caring father, a contrast from Offerman’s portrayal of the cynical libertarian Ron Swanson in “Parks and Recreation.” I almost didn’t recognize him, and I related to Sam, a talented musician, aspiring to be a doctor.
I liked the diversity in the film, with an actress of color in a leading role, and another in a supporting role. It was also nice to see a same-sex relationship on-screen without it being unnecessarily sexualized.
The supporting cast also delivered decent performances, particularly Danson as Frank’s bartender friend Dave. I enjoyed his many jokes shared with Frank over drinks.
However, I couldn’t help but feel that the supporting cast existed more as plot devices instead of their own fleshed-out characters. They didn’t get enough screen time.
There were a few things I didn’t like: the story became a little predictable, occasionally. At one point, Offerman looks directly into the camera to react to a piece of dialogue. That scene seemed better suited for a blooper reel than for the final cut.
“Hearts Beat Loud” was enjoyable with good acting, catchy pop-rock music, and a mostly good story. There are plenty of coming of age or family bonding films out there, but this felt fresh.
While the film is geared towards teens and young adults, I believe it’s fine for all ages.
“Hearts Beat Loud” is rated PG-13 for brief drug references and language.