In the hip Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, single dad and record store owner Frank (Nick Offerman) is preparing to send his hard-working daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons) off to college, while being forced to close his vintage shop. Hoping to stay connected through their shared musical passions, Frank urges Sam to turn their weekly „jam sesh“ into a father-daughter live act. After their first song becomes an Internet breakout, the two embark on a journey of love, growing up and musical discovery.
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When a movie like HEARTS BEAT LOUD deals with all the things that unite us, then this film comes at just the right time.
Maybe I’m a bit biased, after all, because I love music-driven films. A single song can often say more than a thousand words. For that reason, I was curious to see HEARTS BEAT LOUD from director Brett Haley. After the film had caused so many positive reactions at the Sundance Film Festival, I was finally able to see it myself at the Edinburgh International Film Festival this June. But despite my high expectations, I left the cinema in such a good mood, that I felt completely happy. So far I only knew this approach to a music-driven film from one director: John Carney, who brought us films like ONCE, BEGIN AGAIN or SING STREET.
That Brett Haley was inspired by these films, as he told me in an interview, is no wonder. Nevertheless, HEARTS BEAT LOUD is not just a copy of these films, because Haley left his own marks on it.
A lucky shot for the film are certainly its two main actors Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons, who are more than convincing in their roles. You almost get the impression, that they are playing themselves, so much do they seem to identify with their roles.
As a big studio production, this film would certainly have looked very different. But without a cheesy happy ending, the film looks authentic and believable. Nevertheless, one leaves the cinema with an incredibly good feeling, as I said earlier on. HEARTS BEAT LOUD has so much more to offer than just good songs. For example, the fact that the character of Kiersey Clemons is in a non-traditional relationship, but the film does not address it at all – in any major production that would have been a major plotpoint.
With every second of the film you realize, what a fundamental understanding music the director has. And unlike other films of the genre, we are also allowed to hear the songs here in full length and not just bits and pieces.
HEARTS BEAT LOUD is an incredibly honest film, that wears it’s heart in the right place – and that we need more than anything at a time when we are increasingly focusing on what divides us.
At the Edinburgh International Film Festival I had the chance to sit down with writer and director Brett Haley to talk about his film HEARTS BEAT LOUD
Hearts Beat Loud (USA 2018)
Brett Haley, Marc Basch
Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Ted Danson, Sasha Lane, Toni Collette, Blythe Danner