Hearts Beat Loud review: A father and daughter form an unlikely songwriting duo in the summer before she leaves for college. This could be one of the best of the year.

Hearts Beat Loud review by Awais Irfan.

Hearts Beat Loud review
Hearts Beat Loud review

Every Summer brings about with it that surprising, feel-good film of the year – whether it’s the likes of The Big Sick, or Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Chef or Begin Again. This year, that film is Brett Haley’s Hearts Beat Loud and it might just be one of the best things you’ll see in 2018.

Frank (Nick Offerman) has owned the Red Hook Records store for 17 years, finally deciding it’s time to close up shop; his daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons) is about to head off to study pre-med at college too, and in a last bout to spend time with her before she leaves, the pair channel their love for music into an unlikely songwriting duo and father/daughter band – aptly titled “We’re Not a Band”, as Sam shouts to him from across the room. With the help of his landlady Leslie (Toni Collette) and best friend Dave (Ted Danson), Frank must learn to let go of the past and part with two of the biggest things in his life.

The shared DNA with those aforementioned films is in their tenderness; they’re all very sweet, charming underdog stories and Hearts Beat Loud is no exception. It’s a quirky, upbeat affair; the writing here is constantly witty and warm and the characters and relationships inhabiting this screenplay are equally so. Fittingly, Hearts Beat Loud is a story with a big heart that does, indeed, beat loud – permeated with an unwavering joy and passion at its core that just cannot be mimicked or contrived. You quickly care for these people and feel you’ve known them your entire life, rooting for them to succeed and wholly entranced by their stories and their quirks and their journey. It’s quite an unconventional piece too, with Haley opting for realism and taking the story in a very unexpected way given the overarching premise and the possibility of being a superficial, over-the-top musical.

Of course, given the importance of music to Frank and Sam, it’s a big part of the film and, thankfully, the songs are terrific. They’re catchy and heartfelt, but there is an indie vibe to them that makes them feel like the kind of songs you’d imagine coming about the way they do in the story. It’s the soul of Hearts Beat Loud, bringing everyone and everything together and really feeling like a pivotal component to the narrative itself. And you’ll not believe the pipes on Clemons and Offerman!!! Keegan DeWitty’s score is also touching and, again, so beautifully woven into the film as a character in itself. Musically, this is a pulpy and luscious affair that will have you humming it’s tracks for days on end.

Hearts Beat Loud is, simply put, a masterpiece. It’s a delicate, affecting story of music, family and love and anchored by two powerhouse performances from Kiersey Clemons and Nick Offerman. Their chemistry is electric and they make for one of the most believable, most touching father-daughter pairings we’ve seen in a film in some time. Colette and Danson make up a superb supporting cast and everyone adds so much to this. But this is Haley’s show to steal and it’s the way in which he has intricately woven this passion-piece together that really makes it triumph; it’s passionate, beautiful, achingly emotional and soars past the stars as one of the most enjoyable, charming and resonant pieces of film of this year. Of many years. Hearts Beat Loud beats loud and it beats big; it is a tour de force of cinematic joy and craft.

Hearts Beat Loud review by Awais Irfan, July 2018.

Hearts Beat Loud was reviewed at the 2018 Edinburgh International Film Festival.

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Hearts Beat Loud