Movie Watch: Hearts Beat Loud

Continuing our desire to highlight upcoming independent and foreign films we think you should be aware of, we take a look at the new film from the director of last year’s excellent Sam Elliott movie “The Hero,” which also featured Nick Offerman.

Nick Offerman. There’s really not much I can say about the man that millions of others haven’t already said about him. I can say that if I am on the fence about watching something and then discover he has a role in it, I’m in. Which is not to say I’ll watch anything that features him (I’m looking at you, Ice Age: Collision Course), but he can be the tipping point if there is some already existing interest (like, say, last year’s Ray Kroc bio-pic The Founder, where Offerman played one of the McDonald brothers of the ubiquitous burger joint). So when, while I was doing some research for last week’s Early Report, I discovered there’s a new Offerman movie coming out in a couple weeks that I had not seen a damn thing about from a newer independent distributor… well, damn, this is just the type of film I re-launched FilmJerk to cover.

In the hip Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, single dad and record store owner Frank (Nick Offerman) is preparing to send his hard-working daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons) off to college, while being forced to close his vintage shop. Hoping to stay connected through their shared musical passions, Frank urges Sam to turn their weekly “jam sesh” into a father-daughter live act. After their first song becomes an Internet breakout, the two embark on a journey of love, growing up and musical discovery.

Now, if you have not seen writer/director Brett Haley’s previous film, the aforementioned “The Hero,” do yourself a favor and buy it now, or at least watch it on Amazon or iTunes or Vudu. It’s everything you’d want a movie that actually stars Sam Elliott to be, and a large part of that credit go to Haley’s moving script (co-written with longtime collaborator Marc Basch) and assured direction. Some more credit goes to Offerman’s supporting role as Elliott’s former co-star and current drug supplier. It’s about as far from Ron Swanson as Offerman can go yet still remain in his sardonic wheelhouse. Offerman’s not your typical choice to be the centerpiece of a movie, so it’s exciting to see what he’ll be able to pull off when given the opportunity to be in the driver’s seat.

Now, I know the name Kiersey Clemons far better than I know the actress, who had her indie breakout in 2015’s “Dope” before moving in to second-tier Hollywood movies like “Neighbors 2” and “Flatliners.” Everyone will know her name far better soon, should the long-threatened movie adaptation of “The Flash” ever get made, having recently been cast as Iris West, but Clemons seemingly does her best work in the smaller indie films that allow her to explore her characters better.

And it’s really hard to fault a film that has the smarts to cast the likes of Toni Collette, Ted Danson and Blythe Danner in supporting roles.

“Hearts Beat Loud” opens at the Landmark at 57 West and the Union Square 14 in New York City, and at the Landmark 12 in West Los Angeles, on Friday June 8 before expanding in to approximately 150 theatres on Friday June 15 and 100 more on June 22. Visit the Hearts Beat Loud website to find when and where it might be playing at a theatre near you soon.