Love and Mercy (2014)

Directed by Bill Pohlad

Starring John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, and Paul Giamatti

This film is based on the life of one of music’s greatest composers and arranger, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. I am a fan of the Beach Boys, their music is fun and simple, but the vocal harmonies were something else.

The film gives us a look at Brian at two ages. We see Brian at the beginning of his career and also in the ’80s as he struggles with mental illness and is controlled by a doctor.

This film does justice to Brian Wilson’s talent and it does tell the true story of what he went through. The part of the story where Brian is making Pet Sounds was great. It was a groundbreaking album and to see some of his bandmates was not into the recording. The part of this doctor controlling Brian was so hard to see and know that he tolerated this man for so long. Eugene Landy had 24-hour therapy with Wilson and gave him a wrong diagnosis to control him. I think they got it right by telling the story going back and forward instead of chronologically.

I found the story of Brian and The Beach Boys more interesting than the story of older Brian. Although, both stories are interesting and revealing. This was a troubled man, but he was also very talented. We also the effect that Brian’s father had on him.

So in the film, two actors play Brian. Paul Dano plays younger Brian and John Cusack plays older Brian. I think Paul Dano did a great job as Brian. He gave the best performance in the film. Paul Giamatti is great also as the man controlling Brian. John Cusack was also good as older Brian, but I liked Dano’s performance more.

What a sad story of how this musical genius suffered a breakdown and it took him a while to get better. I enjoyed the movie and the fact that it got me to know deeper Brian and what he went through. A truly giant of music the movie is enhanced by the original songs used through the film.

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