A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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Sprinkling of strong language, including "hell," "goddamn," "holy s--t," and "d--khead."
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.