“When life hands you conundrums, you turn them into art.”
It’s a sage comment from Frank Fisher, widowed father of a teenage daughter, whose dreams of happy ever aftering were curtailed by the cycling accident death of his wife.
An aspiring rock and roll career stalled, he opened a record store in the Red Hook district of Brooklyn to raise his daughter, Sam, now a pre med student, booked to study for her degree at UCLA.
Even with government assistance, the academic fees are biting, and his dinosaur store is struggling in the face of Spotify and its ilk. His beloved daughter is flying the coop and his bewildered mother is in need of more constant care to curb her kleptomania.
Frank finds solace in a regular jam session with Sam, sessions that are getting more sparse and sporadic since her studies have taken priority.
But during a plaintively plead jam, Frank discovers a song Sam has been working on, enhances it with his input, records it, and presents it to Spotify, who picks it up.
Frank’s dreams of fame and fortune are rekindled, while Sam is torn between music and medicine.
Nick Offerman is Frank, a big fuzzy, furry bear of a father, who delights in jamming with his daughter, Sam.
Kiersey Clemons is Sam, more adult than her child like, doting dad, ready to embark on her own adventure on the other side of the country.
There’s an undeniable and palpable chemistry between Offerman and Clemons, that elevates the film and gives true arterial pump to the films title HEARTS BEAT LOUD.
And the supporting cast give excellent cardio as well.
Toni Collette is Frank’s land lady, Leslie, nicely played with layers and textures.
Sasha Lane is terrific as Rose, Sam’s new girlfriend and inspiration, who tells Sam “You’ve gotta be brave before you can be good.”
Ted Danson as bar owner Dave is a treat, with zinger timing and acute characterisation.
And Blythe Danner as Marianne, Frank’s failing mind mum, gives a dignified portrayal of early onset dementia
Played out in the Red Hook district of Brooklyn, which gives the film a freshness from the usual fast and furious New York set movies, HEARTS BEAT LOUD uses one of the area’s landmarks, Sunny’s Bar to great effect.
Directed by Brett Haley and written by Haley and Marc Basch, HEARTS BEAT LOUD is a joyous, life affirming experience, one of the unexpected delights of the year, with original songs by Keegan Dewitt that are Academy Award worthy.
HEARTS BEAT LOUD is in limited release at Dendy Newtown, Ritz Cinema Randwick and Golden Age Cinema, 80 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills.