Sundance review: Singing the praises of Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons in Hearts Beat Loud

Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons in Hearts Beat Loud. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Jon Pack.

Music movies have been a boon for Sundance in recent years. In 2014, the fest opened with Whiplash and closed with Rudderless. Sing Street also had a Sundance premiere, and last year featured Patti Cake$ and Roxanne Roxanne. Hearts Beat Loud got stuck in my head so I can’t wait until the film and its soundtrack come out this summer.

Frank Fisher (Nick Offerman) is closing his record shop due to rising rents and dwindling sales. He discovers his daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons)’s song “Hearts Beat Loud” and records it with her. Then Frank gets the big idea that they should be a band.

Hearts Beat Loud is a sweet father/daughter story that’s more of a real world tale than most Hollywood movies. Sam actually wants to go to medical school, not the uncertain life a musician. She’s not wrong, but it’s touching that her father is so encouraging of her talent.

Writer/director Brett Haley and cowriter Marc Basch address the modern world of music. Frank uploads the song to Spotify, because that’s how new music gets playtime now.

There are four original songs in Hearts Beat Loud. Frank and Sam’s band We’re Not A Band perform three. Frank sings an acoustic ballad solo too, and his landlord Leslie (Toni Colette) sings Karaoke. Four originals, a cover and some needle drops aren’t a bad soundtrack.

Frank is a great character for Offerman. He’s funny, sarcastic and goofy as a proud father. This is not Ron Swanson but it’s so Offerman.

Clemons is a star. After Dope earned her some supporting ensemble roles in major Hollywood movies, this is her spotlight. She sings beautifully but breaks your heart dealing with leaving her girlfriend (Sasha Lane) for school and mourning her mother.

Hearts Beat Loud will put a spring in your step. The music is great, the story is heartwarming, plus Offerman and Clemons make a great father/daughter duo.

Gunpowder & Sky will release Hearts Beat Loud in theaters this summer. The soundtrack will also drop at that time.

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