Hearts Beat Loud, directed by Brett Haley and starring Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons comes at a time when LGBTQ representation in the media is at an extreme low. Often times, LGBTQ movies are focused on the struggles, violence and biases that people with these identities face. These films are not usually focused on love, acceptance and positivity. However, this film approaches sexuality in a new and exciting way: Rather than focus on a coming-out story, or any hardships associated with being one’s true self, it's focus is acceptance. It is a remarkable father-daughter story where sexuality is never an issue.
The film centers on single dad Frank Fisher (Nick Offerman) as he prepares to send his daughter, Sam (Kiersey Clemons), off to college while being forced to close his decades-old record store in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Hoping to reconnect with his daughter, he urges Sam to transform their impromptu “jam sesh” into a father-daughter musical act. After their first song turns into an unexpected hit, they embark on a journey of love, family, and self discovery through music.
Sam and Rose meet at the beginning of the summer, meaning they have just a few short months together before attempting long distance or ending things for good. Director Haley treats their courtship in such a normalizing way—there is no discussion about both being women, nor anyone scoffing at that fact. Sam's father casually asks her if she has a girlfriend when he notices she's been MIA, and she confirms with the same amount of fanfare. Any coming-out process has happened prior to the plot that's advancing on screen, and the refreshing non-issue of the two young women's love for one another is made even more special by the fact that it's between two biracial women, something that is rare in film, much less mainstream films closing out Sundance.
The movie is all about acceptance with no drama, struggling, or reconciliation of any sort with Frank’s daughter’s sexuality, a true rarity on film.
Hearts Beat Loud will bring audiences a great, PFLAG-spirited summer romance set to a queer-love-inspired soundtrack of indie electro-pop tracks that Clemons lends her vocals to. Close to the end of the film, she joins her on-screen father in a live performance that has Sam serenading her girlfriend Rose with a song that tells their story; a story that is still quietly revolutionary for a mainstream Hollywood film.
The film opens at select theatres across the country on June 8th. Find local showtimes here.
Here’s a special PFLAG shoutout from Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, and director Brett Haley