When the trailer for Hearts Beat Loud dropped last year, I was excited. As a fan and binge-watcher of “Parks and Recreation”, I always want to see Nick Offerman in more things, and his starring role in this indie intrigued me. Although the movie only got a limited release in theatres, it’s now appeared on Netflix, and I can’t imagine a better choice if you’re in the mood to stream something relaxed and easygoing.
Offerman plays Frank, a single dad and owner of a vintage record shop in the hip Brooklyn neighbourhood of Red Hook. His longtime landlady (Toni Collette) is raising his rent, meaning that he’ll have to close the shop. Meanwhile, his daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons) is preparing to go off to college across the country in California.
Perhaps as a way of maintaining their bond over a shared love of music, Frank suggests they start recording their weekly jam sessions. On a lark, he uploads one of their songs online, and when the duo suddenly become a Spotify sensation, they have to navigate multiple life changes and decide the direction they each want to go in.
Further complicating things is Sam’s budding romance with Rose (Sasha Lane). Sam is unwavering in her determination to go to UCLA and study pre-med, but she’s also palpably uncertain about how the distance will affect her relationship with Rose.
I liked that the movie treats their love story matter-of-factly, in that there’s no coming-out arc or drama over Sam’s sexuality. It seems like it’s already a given, as if that conversation happened years ago, and is just part of who Sam is. It’s refreshing to see a gay romance story in a movie that doesn’t make the sexuality of the characters a source of conflict.
The story unfolds gently, and while there’s tension between the main characters, nothing ever descends into nastiness. You can feel that they genuinely care for each other. It’s an easy film to watch, visually and aurally lovely and comforting, like a warm bath with a glass of wine. (And it gets bonus points for having Ted Danson in a minor role as — what else — a bartender.) I highly recommend it.