Love and Mercy - Review

Love and Mercy is the Biopic about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. If It was not for work I probably would not have heard of the movie till maybe closer to Oscar season and though I am a little bit familiar with the Beach Boys music I never really knew much about the band. Rating online indicated the movie was decent so I expected the movie to be decent and it turns out it was pretty good.

The movie switches back and forth between the heyday of the Beach Boys in the 60s and the 80s where we see the life of a broken down Brain Wilson. Past Brain is played by Paul Dano who does an amazing job. Truth be told I'm not too familiar with the actor but in the movie he is a dead ringer for young Brian. Older Brain is played by Joan Cusack who does not look anything like older brain but still puts on a good performance. Joan and Paul do a great job and syncing their mannerisms and language while they look very different they behaving the same way throughout the movie. Paul Dano does an especially good job as a younger, somewhat awkward Brain who was a perfectionist and a very thoughtful artist. The other major players in the cast are Elizabeth Banks and Melinda Ledbetter who is pretty good as well, not the best chemistry between her and Cusack I think but it works and she is a very strong driven individual. Then there is Paul Giamatti as Eugene Landy, Brians manipulative therapist who is again is pretty good and I gotta say Paul Giamati has been in a lot of stuff in 2015. 

Story Wise we follow Brain through the hei day of the Beach Boys, the recording of Pet Sounds and the gensis of their Hit Good Vibrations. Later on the focus is more on Melinda as she gets to know Brian and tries to get him out of his not so great situation. I would say the 60s portions are a lot stronger than the 80s portions mostly due to Paul Dano. There is nothing really wrong with the 80s part of the story and the Brian, Melinda, Landy dynamic is interesting to see but I really liked the 60s for the music and how it all came together. There are some quite intense moments in the movie in both the past and future, most of the are in the future segments but they do make the movie more about Brain and not necessarily Beach boys songs. The Movie is not perfect the details of the resolution at the end of the movie seems a bit too simple and there were not any real full performances of the songs but overall the movie was really good.

When it comes to big hugely influential bands and people I still prefer the Beatles but definitely have a new respect and appreciation for The Beach boys and Brian Wilson.  it was great to learn about what happened and where things went and for a biopic of someone who is still a live it was not overly glorifying of Brian Wilson he is not perfect and especially later its more about Melinda than Brian to a certain extent. Overall it’s a solid movie and if you're looking for something a bit different then Love and Mercy that's what you need.