This movie was a good change in pace. No one is in extreme danger, the world isn’t threatened, and nothing is supernatural, which is why I liked it. The 2018 movie, directed by Brett Haley, is as much an “indie film” as it is an indie music filled soundtrack. It was surprising how valuable a straight forward plot, about a man and his daughter making music together, can be. There were times I laughed and times I teared up. I wouldn’t call this a feel-good film, but it does makes you feel.
The lives in this movie feel real. The way Nick Offerman portrays the role of Frank Fisher, a single father trying to raise his teenage daughter while managing a dying record store, is authentic. The same with the portrayal of his daughter Sam, played by Kiersey Clemons. I feel like I watched a real story. The chemistry on-screen between these two is perfect. Their relationship certainly isn’t perfect but that is part of the realism; a father and daughter who love each other, despite their differences. What makes the audience smile the most is the roles between the family members. Frank grew up being a free-thinker and lover of music, along with his wife. So when his daughter cares more about homework and getting into a good college than jamming out, it creates a unique dynamic on-screen. Honestly I feel like most of us would have loved a father like that, but it is probably for the best we didn’t.
The rest of the cast is great too. Frank’s main “love interest”, if you want to call it that, is played by Toni Collette. That actress usually can play the down to earth self-confident adult fluidly. Blythe Danner is a senile old woman who offers wisdom from time to time. And the biggest surprise/joy to see on-screen was Ted Danson playing… a bartender. He actually is Frank Fisher’s best friend but it is always funny to see Ted return to his Cheerful roots. The only character I didn’t care for was Sam’s girlfriend, played by Sasha Lane. I do not have a negative opinion on the way she played the role or her acting ability; however she just didn’t seem to fit in the movie for me. Sam’s story is about her struggle between leaving her father and going to school. She is torn about choosing a smart career taking a risk for a better life while a musical one appears because of her clear talent. Including a love interest seemed forced. And the moments the two shared were kind of glossed over, making light of their connection and story. The only real reason she had to be in the movie was to give Sam inspiration for the music.
The entire soul of the movie revolves around the music. Frank is trying desperately to hold onto his connection with his daughter through their jam sessions, which later on turns into an actual window of opportunity. And the music they make is pretty awesome. There is a main song, Heart Beats Loud, that is played multiple times throughout the movie which, on its own, is a cool track. But the entire soundtrack and specifically the other songs the duo create are great. I could see myself buying their album. I like many of the other bands referenced and the real music played as well. It just has a chill indie musical vibe throughout.
Going into the movie, I knew there was a high chance I would like it. Nick Offerman is usually as hilarious as he is manly. What I didn’t expect was how much I was going to love the film, especially Kiersey Clemons. It was fun watching something different and down to earth in-between all the super heroes, serial killers, and over the top action movies. Heart Beats Loud survives The Snappening because we need movies like this sometimes. It’s a story about real people going through real life struggles and getting whatever level of satisfaction and victory they can.
Movie watched and soundtrack jammed out to by: Troy Smith