Nick Offerman’s character in Parks and Recreation is just about my favourite thing on television. I’ve never been opposed to him playing a more serious role and I was lucky enough to witness that transition in the feel-good drama Hearts Beat Loud.
Directed by Brett Haley, Hearts Beat Loud follows Frank Fisher (Nick Offerman) and his daughter, Sam Fisher (Kiersey Clemons), as Sam sees out her final summer in New York before leaving for the west coast to start college. Frank is a talented musician, as was his wife before her death, and Sam inherited their shared talents tenfold. However, rather than pursuing a career in music, Sam’s dream is to become a doctor.
Frank encourages Sam to sing and to create music because he knows how gifted she truly is. He doesn’t push her to give up on medical school, though it is clear that he wants her to reconsider. The summer in which the film is set becomes something of a final hoorah for the father-daughter duo, a lasting foray into their shared appreciation and talent for making music and ultimately, it becomes a season of acceptance for what must come next.
The performances given by Nick and Kiersey are heartfelt and emotive, with each of their characters developing in a timely and well-documented manner. Fellow cast members Ted Danson, Toni Collette (playing Dave and Leslie respectively, both long-time friends of Frank), Blythe Danner (playing Marianne Fisher, Frank’s mother) and Sasha Lane (playing Rose, Sam’s girlfriend) help bring the film to life by supporting the concept of human connection and growth that is prevalent throughout.
Set in the suburban streets of New York City, we watch as Frank comes to terms with his mother going senile, his daughter leaving for the other side of the country and his beloved record store closing down. Hearts Beat Loud accurately reflects the real-life struggles that fathers, families and friendships face, and through the construction of a relatable tale, we see how those same struggles can be overcome.
If I have learnt anything from Hearts Beat Loud, it is that although change can be scary and sad and often heartbreaking, it can also be positive and refreshing, and just the thing you need in order to begin again along a better path.
Dave the Bartender (Ted Danson) is said to have appeared on Broadway in the play Status Quo Vadis. Ted Danson actually appeared in that play on Broadway (which ran one performance in 1973), playing a bartender.