Brett Haley’s (“The Hero”) “Hearts Beat Loud” is one of those soft summer breezes that often spring up in our humid viewing lives, to cool the intense heat of super hero flicks. There are no “Ant Men” or “Wasps” here. No one soars above or climbs buildings. This movie is here to heal the heart, soften the mind and give us some rest.

Above all, “Hearts” is comforting. Not a bad thing in these Orwellian days.

It’s Brooklyn we’re in, but it could be Waterville or Portland. And it’s a simple human father-daughter story that could be yours on the turf of your downtown.

Frank (Nick Offerman, “Parks and Recreation”) is a middle-aged widower who owns a record store that stresses “vinyl only,” on a distressed street in a distressed neighborhood in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, where Murder Inc. and gangster families used to raise hell.

Now it’s calm. Actors and musicians who can no longer afford Manhattan have settled here, until the rents go up again.

Our hero Frank is a survivor of the early garage rock days back when those spaces were still used to park cars.

Now, 17 years later, the dream lives on in the pit of his stomach, undigested and growling like last night’s frozen dinner.

Frank is a good and simple guy with the emphasis on simple, selling vinyl memories and entertaining local kids with stories of the old days.

Since Frank’s wife died too young, he’s been the single dad, raising his very bright teenage daughter Sam, (Kiersey Clemons, “Dope”) a charming and sweet girl with her mother’s color and brains, and just now as she is going to college, coming out to her dad.

We also learn that she’s blessed with a beautiful singing voice, and this film alone should lift Kiersey’s career.

But today, we’re in Sam’s last weeks in Brooklyn. In the fall she’s off to UCLA to begin life as a pre-med student. Frank is proud of her, but his dream is to keep her close, to sell the failing record shop and resurrect his moribund dreams with a father/daughter rock act.

Sam sticks to her books and tries to ignore him, but he keeps coming on.

In a last ditch effort, Frank drains his credit card, buys expensive equipment, and patches together bits of a song they wrote together. Sam sighs, rolls her eyes and goes along with the effort, just to calm him.

He somehow gets the song on Spotify, and it magically gets on their end-of-week playlist. Now he’s excited, his black and white dreams of a comeback take on color.

Nevertheless, Sam persists. Her dream of becoming a doctor has deeper and stronger fiber. Of course the conflict grows, and Sam only has her romance and friendship with Rose, (Sasha Lane) to comfort her.

This soft-edged comic book is dotted with colorful characters to fill in the pauses.

Writers Brett Haley and Marc Basch think they are unique and colorful, but as sweet as they are, they’re simply pastel party balloons designed to lift this sweet venture from the littered streets.

Blythe Danner is rescued from her Prolia commercials to give life to Frank’s aging mother now on the edge of dementia, who goes around the neighborhood shoplifting. She succeeds.

Ted Danson, who has been making a living since his halcyon days in “Cheers,” by skipping from one cameo to another, pops in as an aging hippie bartender who owns a last stop bar.

It helps that Toni Collette, who has survived the dreadful “Hereditary,” is here to play the duel role of Sam’s lover and landlady.

Offerman delivers a touching and sensitive performance here, far cry from his “Parks and Recreation” days.

The movie offers the summer’s brightest moment in a lifting scene at the end, where Daddy Frank convinces Daughter Sam to stage an in-store jam session to celebrate his closing. It’s warm and tender, a big father and daughter musical number that ends with hugs and kisses. And yes, it’s very comforting.

Does Sam choose UCLA and become a doctor, taking partner Rose with her into the future? Or does she stay home in Red Hook with dad and find success? Stay tuned.

Haley’s direction is heart felt. He thought he smelled a hit. He may be right.

Kiersey Clemons as Sam definitely has a voice, big and warm as her heart.

Keegan DeWitt’s original songs that include “Everything Must Go,” “Red Hook,” “We’re Not a Band” and “Shut Your Eyes,” are actually pretty good.

“La La Land” it’s not, but there’s a lot of comfort here.

J.P. Devine is a former stage and screen actor.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.