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“Hearts Beat Loud” – Kiersey Clemons, Brett Haley, and Nick Offerman: Hollywood Film Tribute

Today we are recognizing Hearts Beat Loud, as well as co-writer/director Brett Haley, plus co-stars Kiersey Clemons and Nick Offerman. Our Hollywood Film Tributes recognize films and talent for their excellence in the art of filmmaking.

In a more just and fair world, Hearts Beat Loud would have at least one Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. That Oscar snub hurts, but we are still left with another lovely crowdpleaser from Brett Haley. Not only does he have wonderful songs from Keegan DeWitt at his disposal, he also is utilizing wonderful turns from Kiersey Clemons and Nick Offerman. They’re well deserving of this moment in the sun today.

Here is a bit from our rave review published back in the summer:

Never underestimate a film that can leave you with a warm feeling on the inside. Crowd pleasing cinema is like chicken soup…it’s just good for you. Brett Haley is a master at this. The writer/director has been forging an incredibly underrated career, one that a few decades ago would have made him an A-list auteur. Regardless, he’s sure to get his due this week, as his latest movie Hearts Beat Loud is about to open. A hit at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, it’s one of the year’s best films, bar none. Emotional and warm in the way a fantastic hug can be, this is a cinematic experience that may well take your breath away.

A music fill dramedy, Hearts Beat Loud tells the story of a Brooklyn based father and his daughter in the summer before the latter leaves for college. In a matter of almost magical alchemy, they’ll end up forming an unlikely songwriting duo, but at the start, they’re just two people who have long bonded with music. Frank Fisher (Nick Offerman) is the owner of a struggling record store in Red Hook, while Sam Fisher (Kiersey Clemons) is dealing with first love and preparing for med school out on the west coast. Then, during one of their long running jam sessions, sessions that Sam almost does now to humor Frank, they come up with a catchy tune. Written by Sam in the spark of first love, Frank sees the talent that he knows she possesses. One upload to the internet later and their music is on Spotify. From there, a whole new level of father/daughter bonding occurs. It’s just a complete delight to witness Haley directs and co-writes here with frequent collaborator Marc Basch. The strong supporting cast includes Toni Collette, Blythe Danner, Ted Danson, Sasha Lane, and more. The music is by composer Keegan DeWitt, who has been snubbed by Oscar in Best Original Song before. That finally might not happen again this year, but more on that a little bit later in this piece…

I just want to hug this film can never let it go. From the performances by Clemons and Offerman to the songs written by DeWitt, it’s all just emotional, full of positivity, and infectiously joyful. It all goes down under the watchful eye of Haley, who is a master of getting his intended reaction out of an audience. Like an expert conductor, the musical sequences put a lump in your throat and match your own heart’s rhythm to the sounds on the screen. It’s dynamic and oddly profound. The mixture here is damn near perfect. Without question, this is one of the year’s best films.

Haley deserves to be a directing star. I’ll See You In My Dreams, The Hero, and now this suggest someone with an Oscar in their future. At the very minimum, he should be an Academy Award nominee before long. The talent is just so clearly on display. The subtle confidence evident in his work is a sight to behold. Wherever Haley goes next with his career, I know I’ll be eagerly following. Hearts Beat Loud is further proof that we have a genius working in a very specific arena. Had he been starting out in the late 80’s or early 90’s, he could have been Cameron Crowe. That’s how on point he is. Once you see the work, you’ll understand.

Photos Courtesy Gunpowder & Sky

Hollywood Film Tributes recognizing films and talent for their excellence in the art of filmmaking.
Editors: Carlos de Abreu and Joey Magidson [Tomatometer-approved critic]
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About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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