Hearts Beat Loud

Hearts Beat Loud ★★★ 1/2

For the past few years, filmmaker Brett Haley has been quietly making wonderful character dramas populated by actors who most producers wouldn’t necessarily think of when trying to attract a mass audience. With a light comic touch and tentative romances to ground them, pictures like 2015’s I’ll See You in My Dreams and last year’s The Hero featured rare starring roles by 75-year-old Blythe Danner (Gwyneth Paltrow’s mom) in the former and 73-year-old perennial cowpoke Sam Elliot in both. Haley tends to bring out the best in his performers, and his latest, Hearts Beat Loud, is no different. While his leads are a bit younger this time, 24-year-old Kiersey Clemons performs small miracles as Sam Fisher, an old soul who’s more mature than her dad, Frank, who has done his best to raise his daughter after the tragic death of his wife a decade ago. Played by 47-year-old Nick Offerman (from Parks and Recreation), Frank struggles to earn enough money from his modest Brooklyn record store to pay for Sam’s upcoming first year of medical school, but he still finds the time to pull her away from her studies for impromptu father-daughter “jam seshes” as the summer winds down. And as we’ll soon hear, she’s inherited her chanteuse mom’s amazing set of pipes. When not making music alongside her dad, Sam navigates her first relationship, with local girl Rose (American Honey’s Sasha Lane), armed with the knowledge that she’ll soon be leaving them both behind. With great warmth, the hearts beat as loud as the toe-tapping songs that fill the soundtrack. (At Kendall Square.)

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