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Hearts Beat Loud.

Hearts Beat Loud - Still 1

These hearts are beating, just a tad too loud. Brett Haley’s loving drama is full of heart, but so determinedly, you can’t help but feel a bit exhausted by it all.

Nick Offerman gives a quiet and well meaning performance as the single dad whose Red Hook, Brooklyn, used records store is failing. His mother (Blythe Danner) is having “issues”, his daughter is about to take off for college. It’s crunch time.

Many of us can relate to the basics here: it’s just that there are too many over thought and hipster-ish atmospheric touchstones. And a lot of them don’t make any sense. Our working-class heroes live in what appears to be a very large loft, making beautiful music inside their exposed brick walls. The daughter Frank loves and accepts unconditionally (a luminous Kiersey Clemons) is gay, black and can’t wait to be her own woman. Of course Frank’s landlord (Toni Collette) carries a torch for him. I mean why wouldn’t a wealthy, attractive and independent businesswoman find a cranky shlub irresistible? And she’s such a doll, she refuses to raise the rent on the large storefront he can’t pay for. Because that’s happening all over gentrified Brooklyn. (This, in case you need explanation, is my attempt at facetious humor: there isn’t room enough to get into the ‘honey-really’ conversation and you should see what’s happening in Brooklyn real estate!)

It’s nice to see Ted Danson back behind a bar again, but I wish his realistically gritty character had been given more time to do his thing. The only actor who manages to truly pierce the sweet and certainly well intentioned veneer is Clemons, who, without breaking a sweat, proves she is the real deal. Her quiet, assured work should make a lot of hearts beat loud, indeed.

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