Though I would appreciate a title reading “ Hearts Beat Loudly” , this sweet Brooklyn musical family is this summer’s special treat. Red Hook looks like a community that could support any downed dreamer.
Nick Offerman is the bearded and plaid-shirted owner of a record shop. His name Frank Fisher fits him perfectly. He is open and wistful, still a fisher of dreams. His own recording career was cut short by his wife’s cycling death.
He has been a widower raising his daughter ( Kiersey Clemons) for seventeen years. His mother, played beautifully by Blythe Danner, is exhibiting signs of mental decline, and daughter Sam is gearing up for pre-med classes in far away California. He has wonderful friends like the local bartender, Dave ( Ted Danson) and his vintage record shop landlady,Leslie ( Toni Collette).
Still things could be better. His mother is picked up for shoplifting, his store is going under, and Sam is growing-up too fast. Writers Brett Haley and Marc Basch hit just the right tone for this bittersweet indie. Frank can’t seem to locate Sam’s needed birth certificate, yet he has her dried imbilical cord at hand. Sam and Frank have a history of jam sessions. It is through these that we see Sam fall for Rose ( Sasha Lane) and her song lyrics have dad putting their session on Spotify. Frank calls them “ We Are Not A Band” after Sam’s rebuttal to him about singing and songwriting together like he and her mother used to do. Their song goes viral and decisions must be made.
Dave tells Frank that “ we always don’t get to do what we love.” He is an old actor himself, now bartender. Yet, my favorite scene maybe in the coffee shop where Frank is buying strawberry woopy pies for Sam. He hears their song in an indie mix over the sound system, and runs around yelling “50,000 people are listening to our song”.
There are lots of side stories like life. Leslie really likes Frank, and he does not seem to notice. When he speaks of “ getting his button shirt on” and toasting the demise of “ Red Hook Records” we love this guy. His memories consist of the first time Sam got a Groucho joke, and of a growth chart marked on the wall of the shop. He accepts Sam lesbian relationship by saying, “ when life hands you conundrums, you turn them into art.”
Rose, herself, gets her aphorisms from comic books. As she teaches Sam to ride a bike ( a no-no under Sam’s Dad ), she intones:” You gotta be brave, before you can be good.” More than a coming of age film, “Hearts Beat Loud” is about the music of life.