Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Feel-good family fun, with some fine music included: Brett Haley's HEARTS BEAT LOUD

The best thing about HEARTS BEAT LOUD is its original music via Keegan DeWitt, sung to a fare-thee-well by the movie's stars, Kiersey Clemons and Nick Offerman. We hear this music almost from the film's beginning and it continues off and on throughout. You can easily believe it would get noticed, grow popular and perhaps even start some careers in the process.

Beyond the music is what TrustMovies is beginning to view as a typical Brett Haley movie (as with I'll See You in My Dreams and The Hero): low-key, pleasant, with properly calibrated ups and down, and although the subjects raised may be deep, the handling of them is not.

Yet each of Haley's films (the co-writer/director is shown at right) offers an enjoyable, feel-good time, and best of all, the filmmaker never wraps it all up too cozily at the finale. Some questions remain unanswered and things are always left open for further possibilities (both good and bad).

Haley's co-writer, as usual, is Marc Basch, and the screenplay the two have concocted this time around involves a Brooklyn father (Offerman, shown above, right, and below, left) and his late-teen daughter (Ms Clemons: above, left, and below, right) about to leave for a pre-med course at UCLA. The two have long made music together (the mom of the family having died some years back), so Dad wants one last jam session together, at which daughter suddenly comes up with a song she's been working on that has definite possibilities.

That's pretty much it for plot -- oh, daughter gets involved with an attractive local girl (Sasha Lane, below), even as dad finds himself attracted to his friendly landlord (Toni Collette, further below) -- the only big question arising here is whether daughter must or maybe will give up her medical studies to pursue a musical career.

Inserted into all this is a grandmother (Blythe Danner) suffering from dementia who occasionally shoplifts and create sort-of problems. While it's always a pleasure to see Ms Danner at work, this character seems so needless to the tale told, and her arc really goes nowhere, that the movie would be a bit tighter and shorter without her.

Better used and more germane is the bartender/old friend of dad's, played by Ted Danson, below, who gives his neightbors good advice and even better booze now and again. Otherwise, the movie is easy-going, pleasurable and rather predictable. But the music, as I say, is quite good, and so are each of the performances.

All in all, this is just about what we've come to expect from a Brett Haley movie, but, as someone once asked, What's not to like?  

From Gunpowder & Sky and running a pleasantly-paced 97 minutes, Hearts Beat Loud opens this Friday, June 8, in New York (at the Regal Union Square and the Landmark at 57 West) and Los Angeles (at the Arclight Hollywood and The Landmark in West L.A.). Here in South Florida, as well as elsewhere around the country, the movie opens the following Friday, June 15. In the Miami area, look for it at the AMC Aventura, the O Cinema Wynwood, and Regal's South Beach 18 and in Fort Lauderdale at The Classic Gateway.

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