We know their Music, but not the man behind it. The Beach Boys need little introduction with a massive catalog of hits, dominating airwaves in the ’60s and selling an estimated 350 million albums worldwide. After premiering to rousing reception at TIFF ’14, Love & Mercy gives us a deep look into the mind of Pop Music Icon Brian Wilson, the Member responsible for penning, producing and performing some of the most significant tunes in Pop Music.
Directed by 12 Years a Slave Producer Bill Pohlad, the Film simultaneously tells two periods in Wilson‘s life. Young Wilson is played by Paul Dano, while his older self is played by John Cusack. We meet beautiful Melinda (Elizabeth Banks), a former Model turned Car Salesperson and we see much of the Story through her eyes, as we learn about Wilson‘s struggle with mental health and addiction as she meets him by chance one day at her dealership. We see some of Wilson‘s greatest struggles creatively in asserting his artistic integrity in the face of a gapping distance between him and his fellow Bandmates, pressure from their Record Label to repeat their success amounts. Love & Mercy gives us an empathetic look at Wilson‘s strained relationship with his father and the circumstances which led him to trouble. With Melinda, we are on a mission to get Wilson emancipated from the tyrannical watch of Dr. Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti) whom we soon realize does not have his best of interests in mind.
What makes Love & Mercy a triumph is its impeccable eye for detail. Everything from costuming to its recounting of the musical process oozes authenticity and great kudos go to Dano who portrays young Wilson with great mastery, getting under his skin and his desire to please his at-times impossible Father to his tireless obsession in the studio, for perfection. Pohlad presents Wilson every part a Man as he is a Musician in the truest sense. Banks shows us exactly why she is one of Hollywood’s most in-demand Actresses, making it rather easy for us to fall for her playing Melinda with both a tenderness and strength that Wilson is missing. Giamatti is cast perfectly and is outright terrifying in his desire for control. Not to detract from the always reliable Cusack, it’s just that his Co-stars are devastatingly good here.
eOne Films release LOVE & MERCY on Friday, June 5, 2015.
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