Brett Haley’s music drama Hearts Beat Loud stars Nick Offerman as a widowed Brooklyn record-store owner whose only daughter (Kiersey Clemons) has her heart set on going to medical school in L.A. However, when she sings lead on a demo track that he records from a set of her lyrics, the song (which shares the movie’s title) starts getting traction on Spotify, and Dad suddenly wants his daughter to put off college to form a band with him.
This movie may be conceptually slight, but it has Keegan DeWitt’s mostly original songs going for it and the all-too-rare sight of a black girl singing rock ’n’ roll, as opposed to jazz, R&B, or soul. Clemons gives a star-making performance as a gay teen negotiating a summer romance as well as leaving the nest, and Sasha Lane steals a good portion of this as an artist girlfriend who realizes that their love must end. Still, the acting honors go to Offerman, showing more dramatic depth here than he’s usually allowed to as a man trying to hang on to his child to fulfill his own unrealized dreams of making music. He can sing and play a bit, too. This potentially forgettable film soars on its music and its cast.
Hearts Beat Loud screens Fri-Sun at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St, FW. Tickets are $8-10. Call 817-738-9215.