Frank (Nick Offerman) is a charming aging Brooklyn hippie has just two ambitions left in life, One is to hang on to the failing record store that he has owned in Red Hook for the past 17 tears, and the second is to make music with his freshman medical student Sam (Kiersey Clemons) who doesn’t quite share his enthusiasm.
This gentle crowd-pleaser of a movie from filmmaker Brett Haley that wowed crowds at Sundance earlier this year evokes an old-fashioned era when local neighborhoods like this refused to match the fast pace of life elsewhere. Single-parent dad Frank is resisting all change and is having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that when the summer ends Sam will be going across the country to study in California. They have been a tight knit pair since Sam’s mother died several years ago, but now that she has grown up she is no longer quite so eager to spend as much time with her father as she used too.
One of their regular habits was just jamming together, and as reluctant as she to keep doing this, she does write a rather beautiful song that also is her way of outing herself as gay to Frank, They make a demo of the song but Sam refuses to have any more to do with it, ‘we’re not a band’ she hollers at her dad, who immediately uses the expression to name their group. Then when Frank uploads it on Spotify it is an instant success, and then there is no denying that the two of them do make good music together, and the question is what’s the next step to be,
There are some rather wonderful secondary strands of the story with Frank’s very sympathetic landlady (Toni Collette) who wants to help him keep the store going. He, however, is torn between accepting her help or asking her out on a date. The ever wonderful Blythe Danner plays Frank’s elderly kleptomaniac mother who really needs to be out of harm’s way in an Assisted Living home. Plus Ted Danson plays the owner of the local bar who is not only Frank’s best friend but who likes to be thought of as a wise sage too.
Its impossible not to be taken in by the whole charm of the piece especially with perfectly pitched performances from Offerman and the extremely talented young Clemons who really is destined for big things. It has the freshness and sheer innocence that will certainly appeal to people who loved John Carney ‘s very gentle musical movie Once in 2007 that turned out to be an unexpected hit.
This is one of those movies which makes you wish for the summer to never end.