No flat notes in ‘Hearts Beat Loud’

by Joe Jarosz on June 13, 2018

in Print Reviews,Reviews

[Rating: Solid Rock Fist Up]

I love a good coming-of-age movie.

We’ve been blessed with some amazing stories over the past few years. From The Edge of Seventeen and The Way Way Back to Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Lady Bird, these stories speak to the inner teenager in all of us. Whether we were popular, bullied, an athlete, or whatever other sub-culture you fell in with, the best version of these movies will hit some emotion inside of us.

When this genre of movies includes a music sub-plot, then imagine the meme of Fry from Futurama was right here. Shut up and take my money!

Hearts Beat Loud is the latest great coming-of-age movie – a candid, sometimes hilarious and sometimes heart-breaking look at what it’s like to grow up as a young woman when you’ve lost your mother and your father clearly hasn’t regained the emotional strength to move on.

Nick Offerman stars as Frank. He owns his own record shop in New York and clings to the music career he almost had. Kiersey Clemons is Sam, his daughter. She’s spends time during the summer studying for school before she heads across the country to study medicine at UCLA.

Although it’s 2018 and vinyl is on the rise again, a record store is hard to keep. And after nearly 20 years of running his shop, Frank knows it’s time to close the doors on yet another musical venture in his life. One night, Frank and Sam record a song together. Sam is an amazing singer and Frank wants to use his daughter to try and recapture his short-lived music career.

Shortly after this and the realization that he has to close his record store, Frank goes out and buys a top-of-the-line guitar and recording equipment. This is one of the many times where Sam has to act like the parent and tell him to return those items because they can’t afford them as a family. She also has to sternly remind him that they are not a band and she’s heading off to college soon.

We get the feeling Sam has had to be the parent to Frank on a number of occasions prior to this.

But when pressed, Frank does the right thing. As a parent, we want the best for our kids, but we also have a difficult time letting go of the times we had before they arrived. Frank is able to eventually find a balance that allows Sam to grow and do what she needs to do for her life, but also, at the same time, remind her that those impossible dreams are sometimes worth chasing.

At a brisk 97 minutes, there are times when the scenes linger on. Offerman’s interactions with his flirty landlord Leslie (Toni Collette) overstay their welcome at times. And although the interactions between Frank and his bartender friend Dave (Ted Danson) are often funny, they’re also repetitive. Dave is a pothead. We don’t need to be reminded of that every time we see him.

Let’s also talk about the music for a second. I have had the soundtrack for this movie on repeat since it was added to Spotify. It’s a light-hearted, easy-listening indie sound that if you enjoy this movie, you’ll probably enjoy its music. Kiersey Clemons has a beautiful voice and I’m glad it’s being showcased.

Music is an important part of my life. When it’s good, I immerse myself in it. And this movie is an important reminder that music is more important than most people realize.

Joe Jarosz is a Midwest boy now living in California.

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