Ever since “discovering” Nick Offerman in the series Parks & Recreation I fell in love with him. Also since then I found myself hoping that he would find more material or roles that were up to the level of his talent. For the most part, he has been very busy taking part in the television series Fargo and doing guest spots on Will & Grace, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Offerman continues his winning streak, this time in a lead role in the small film Hearts Beat Loud.
It is a little of a different role for Offerman as he plays a man who is a single father of a teenage girl, but seems to have never grown up himself. He alternates between funny and heartbreaking as Frank Fisher. The story itself has a rather familiar feel to it, in that you will believe you have seen the movie before. It is made better due to the excellent chemistry between Offerman and his younger acting partner, Kiersey Clemons.
Owning a record store seems like a dream job for a musician/music fan. This is the life Frank Fisher (Nick Offerman) has built for himself. And yet, he is not happy. When he was a younger man he and his deceased wife made music together. His dreams were put on hold when his wife dies and he finds himself a single parent to his daughter.
The years have passed and the daughter has in most respects become the parent. Sam (Kiersey Clemons – Dope, Bad Neighbours 2) is the mature one. She is spending her last summer before she goes off to med school at UCLA in a pre-med class. That is while her father just wants to jam with her and decides to close the Red Hook record store after owner Leslie (Toni Collette – Heredity, Little Miss Sunshine) raises the rent. Frank harrasses his daughter until she gives up studying to jam with him. During that session the two write a great song that Frank submits to Spotify.
When Spotify puts the song on its Indie Mix, Frank tries to convince Sam to make a go at being in a band with him. Sam, who has just begun a relationship with an artist named Rose (Sasha Lane – American Honey), insists that she does not want to be in a band with her father, rather she plans to become a doctor. Resigned, Frank, who has something going on with Leslie, decides that during the last day his store is open to play a show with his daughter. Will this night change the future for either father or daughter?
A free spirit and light feel to the film. It is made relevant due to the fact that the father-daughter relationship has a totally realistic feel to it. How the two seemingly very different relate is magical. Their relationship is the centrepiece of the film and is ably and delightfully supported by the music. Director and co-writer Brett Haley (I’ll See You in My Dreams) makes sure that everything is note perfect. He makes sure the tone is right and that there are enough quietly emotional moments so that things don’t become too light or insignificant. Haley also does not allow things to go the usual route with the characters in that they do not take the easy way out. Rather they move ahead in life as we hope they would.