'Hearts Beat Loud'
Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons play Frank and Sam Fisher, the father-daughter duo of the film. (Image via Variety)

Through a Father-Daughter Relationship, ‘Hearts Beat Loud’ Nimbly Explores Identity and Music

Plus, it might be Nick Offerman's best role since 'Parks and Rec.'
June 20, 2018
5 mins read

Recent summer film releases such as “The Incredibles 2,” “Tag,” “Ocean’s 8,” “Hereditary” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” have distributed a continuous steam of blockbusters to the box office in the past month.

Among such heavyweight titles, however, you could easily lose sight of the smaller releases, which are oftentimes known for their critical acclaim or feel-good nature, featured at Sundance and other major film festivals.

Originally screened at Sundance and released nationally on June 8, “Hearts Beat Loud” is a genuine music film, centering around a single father and his daughter, which could be characterized as one of such releases.

At a first glance, “Hearts Beat Loud” can be written off as a rather wishy-washy summer coming-of-age film that demands little from viewers and allows its audience to walk away feeling good.

Despite initially inaccurate perceptions of the film, “Hearts Beat Loud” presents important conversations in a subtle and artistic manner throughout its course, generating an ongoing discussion regarding its meaningfully delivered messages.

Nick Offerman, well-known for his mustachioed role as Ron Swanson in the office-comedy “Parks and Rec,” plays Frank Fisher, a single father and widower. Fisher owns a vinyl shop in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and is presented with the struggles of owning an archaic music store in the modern age, resulting in him considering its closure.

Around the same time, his daughter, Sam (Kiersey Clemons), graduates from high school and begins preparing to depart for college on the West Coast.

The father and daughter bond over their final summer of living together prior to Sam’s college departure and rediscover their mutual love for music, providing viewers with a representation of a sweet father-daughter relationship perfectly timed for Father’s Day.

Father-daughter relationship aside, the budding romance between Sam and her friend, Rose (Sasha Lane), depicts young love in a swift and intense manner reminiscent of a classic summer fling.

Most importantly, though, the bittersweet entanglement is driven by more than both characters being women of color. Although representation of women of color — especially a biracial woman — in a queer relationship is important, Haley made it clear in an interview with ET he did not create the characters solely to fill such a need.

“It happens to be between two women who happen to be women of color, but I’m very anti using people’s sexuality or gender or color of their skin as a plot point,” Haley said. “That’s not what this movie’s about.”

Haley’s attitude toward making a film about issues of race, gender and sexuality without presenting characters in a negative, one-dimensional manner creates a different, positive representation, which is perhaps evidence of an evolving and more accepting society.

In addition, “Hearts Beat Loud” avoids the limiting tropes of a fluffy coming-of-age film by employing a well-written script, meaningful dialogue and a believable father-daughter relationship.

By showing the Fishers recording in their home and bonding over their love for good sounds, “Hearts Beat Loud” displays the healing and community values of music. The father-daughter duo records a song together, which forces them to consider what they want for their lives — professionally, creatively and romantically.

The film features various songs written by Keegan DeWitt, the head member of Wild Cub, an indie rock band based out of Nashville, Tennessee. One of DeWitt’s songs, “Hearts Beat Loud,” was the inspiration for the film.

“Hearts Beat Loud” is a must-see summer film which promises music lovers and consumers alike a rewarding journey into the lives of a father and daughter. Without being conflict-driven, the film quietly addresses the trials many face in life and leaves viewers feeling uplifted and hopeful about the future.

Jamie Lovley, University of Maine

Writer Profile

Jamie Lovley

University of Maine
Journalism and Psychology

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