Hearts Beat Loud

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
Hearts Beat Loud Movie Poster Image
Coming-of-age dramedy finds family harmony amid upheaval.
  • PG-13
  • 2018
  • 97 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Demonstrates how families can respectfully disagree but still come to decisions together. The two main characters make thoughtful life choices with respect to short-term satisfaction vs. the long view. Humility and the importance of communication are themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rising college freshman Sam has her priorities straight: education first, then time with family and new girlfriend. She and her father have a close, considerate relationship, although Sam frequently acts the parent. They don't always agree but still find a way to make beautiful music together, literally and figuratively. Sam is confident, capable, assertive, an independent thinker, comfortable in her own skin, which viewers may see as the result of her father raising Sam to be her own unique self. Diversity within the cast.


Sam dates Rose; they develop a relationship before sharing a kiss. Later, they kiss extensively while fully clothed on top of a bed. Sam's songs express her romantic feelings for Rose. Sam debates whether she should go to college far away because of this new, intense relationship. A female friend tries to kiss Frank; later, he accuses her of sleeping with a different man.


Sprinkling of strong language, including "hell," "goddamn," "holy s--t," and "d--khead."


Spotify plays a key role; it's the tool that makes the dad-daughter song (which is available to purchase in real life) popular. Lots of music equipment on display, including two Apple laptops. When Frank buys Sam a Les Paul guitar, she balks at the cost and insists he return it. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frank smokes, which friends, family, and strangers disapprove of. Frank also drinks frequently -- to socialize, to celebrate, to wallow. He offers his underage daughter a beer, which she accepts and drinks with him. Scenes set in a bar. When Frank is drunk and demands more, his friend refuses to serve him. Frank's friend jovially speaks about how he illegally obtains marijuana; it's presented as a bit of a joke, but takeaway is that this is acceptable adult behavior.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hearts Beat Loud is a charming, music-driven, coming-of-age tale in which the parent is the one who has to grow up. It follows a widower named Frank (Nick Offerman) who's trying to hold on to his college-bound daughter, Sam (Kiersey Clemons), in the face of unpleasant life transitions. The result is a role-reversal: Smart Sam makes more responsible choices than her father, who drinks (sometimes to excess), curses (words include "s--t," "hell," and more), and hangs out with an aging pothead bartender. But Frank and Sam have a loving, respectful relationship, even when they disagree, and the movie has clear themes of humility and communication. Sam and her girlfriend kiss quite a bit, including making out on a bed. Frank's mother is showing signs of dementia, and he's dealing with how to best keep her safe while also letting her have independence. It can sometimes feel like the idea of the film is to sell the music – which may be the case, given that streaming music service Spotify is cast as a bit of a hero.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11-year-old Written byASRca June 16, 2018

A celebration of love

My daughter and I enjoyed this sweet film about love and change and being brave.
Parent of a 11 and 11-year-old Written byEmilyB 6 June 27, 2018

Beautiful Coming of Age Film

I watched this with my 13 year old daughter, she loves the Office and was thrilled to see the father, and even Ted Danson who she knows from The Good Place. Sce... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDamatrix99 June 11, 2018

Hearts Beat Loud

Hearts Beat Loud is about a Dad that wants to get into a band with his daughter after a viral song they put on Spotify. The dad is played by star from “Parks an... Continue reading

What's the story?

In HEARTS BEAT LOUD, the summer before Sam Fisher (Kiersey Clemons) is set to move across the country to attend UCLA's pre-med program, her widower father, Frank (Nick Offerman), is shaken up by less exciting life changes: His record store is going out of business, his mother's (Blythe Danner) dementia is worsening, and his nest is about to be completely empty. While Sam wants to focus on all things medicine, Frank wants her to embrace her musical DNA (Frank and his late wife were recording artists). During their father-daughter "jam sesh," Frank records their original song and secretly uploads it to a music streaming service; the track quickly gains popularity and opens doors to a music career. In the meantime, Sam starts a romantic relationship with a young woman named Rose (Sasha Lane) and must decide whether she should pursue a college degree all alone on the West Coast or stay in New York with her girlfriend and follow her parents' dream, which just might be hers, too.

Is it any good?

This is a likable dramedy that, at times, feels like a feature-length music video. The generous amount of screen time in Hearts Beat Loud given to writing, performing, and hearing the hooky title single seems suspiciously like promotion. On the other hand, aspiring musicians may appreciate witnessing how a song comes together in a story-driven manner. 

Offerman (best known for Parks and Recreation) shows an expanded range here, playing a widower who's about to lose his daughter to college, his aging mother to Alzheimer's, his record store to failure, and his rock star dreams to reality. And Clemons reveals substantial music chops performing tunes (by Keegan DeWitt) that are truly catchy. The actors' chemistry is so natural and familiar, with moments of unarticulated subtext, that viewers never doubt for a moment that they're father and daughter. Their relationship is admirable in many ways, and parents may find themselves wistfully falling for the fantasy of literally making beautiful music with their child, just as they're fleeing the nest. Teen audiences will likely revel in a young character who often acts like the adult in the family -- and relate to the embarrassment of finding yourself in a band with your parent. 

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Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love music and coming-of-age stories

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