Hearts Beat Loud

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A cute movie about a widower whose daughter’s about to go off to college, Hearts Beat Loud takes us into a small family united by music. Dad (Nick Offerman of Parks and Recreation) owns and runs a record store that’s failing. Focused on great contemporary music, dad’s customer service is costing him his business. Early on a customer asks “dad” to put out his cigarette, but rather than comply, dad replies that he’ll put out his cigarette when the guy buys a record. You’re probably thinking what I was, the customer can easily buy anything online, for cheaper. And that’s what happened.

Still though dad is a curmudgeon, he’s  good dad. He supports his daughter Sam’s aspirations to study pre-med. He also knows she shares his musical talent and taste so though the teen needs some prodding, they jam together and write songs together.

The subplots are a modern, i.e. tentative, lukewarm romance between the dad and his landlord played by Toni Collette, Sam’s first love and the grandmother’s early stage dementia, which doesn’t get the development it was due. Moreover, Blythe Danger’s portrayal of the grandma doesn’t resemble people with this condition. Grandma’s wandering and shoplifting mean she can’t live on her own any more. I think some scenes with her were edited because that storyline was forgotten by the end.

When dad uploads a song, which he wrote and performed with Sam, on Spotify and is blown away when he hears its now on a indie music playlist. Dad is gong ho about writing more songs and seeing where working with Sam on music will take them. Sam resists a bit, but since she likes music she lightens up on her summer school work and they write more songs.

The movie was cute and had some nice moments, but the plot wasn’t gripping. The obstacles are rather small, though realistic. There wasn’t a big fight to overcome problems like closing the records shop. It was odd to see the main character get a chance to stay in business, but just pass because it would mean him being less of a grouch. This wasn’t at all like Meg Ryan losing the bookstore in You’ve Got Mail, when a mega-bookstore opens. This shop closes because the manager drives customers away.

I liked the film, but kept hoping it would get better. The potential was there, but the script and film was weak because the creators didn’t put the characters into greater peril.  The music was pleasant, but a couple days after viewing I don’t remember the songs. They didn’t stick in my head. It’s an okay film, but I’m glad I didn’t spend the money at the theater. Get it from your library or on Netflix.

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