Thursday, July 30, 2015

Love & Mercy

Behind every famous person is a dark story from their personal life. Bad childhood, addictions and dependencies, stormy affairs and's frequently something they want to keep out of the press. The skeletons sooner or later emerge from the closet, whether it be through talk shows, (auto)biographies or from a close source.

Bill Pohlad's Love & Mercy focuses on Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys fame. Along with making incredible sounds for the band, Wilson also paved the way for producing music. But far away from the stage spotlights and recording studios is a man plagued by abuse and personal torments.

As is the case with any biopic, it all comes down to casting the right actor for the lead role, especially if the subject of said biopic is still alive. And Pohlad certainly had the right frame of mind when he cast Paul Dano and John Cusack as younger and older versions of Wilson. Dano effortlessly depicts Wilson as a man whose fame can't overcome his demons. (Finally, he's in a role where someone's not beating the shit out of him.) Cusack, meanwhile, depicts Wilson as someone who long ago let his demons control his life. It's a stunning contrast between the two performances.

But Love & Mercy isn't just about Dano and Cusack's performances. The work from Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti are also worth mentioning. Much like Felicity Jones' work in The Theory of Everything, Banks fills the part of the doting woman. (It's much better than it sounds.) And Giamatti is a scary son of a bitch. (And not just because of the wig he wears.)

Love & Mercy isn't your standard biopic. Pohlad shifts between different times of Wilson's stormy life with ease though not without a slow start. Oh, and be sure to watch this with a really good sound system.

My Rating: ****1/2


  1. Great review! I enjoyed this one too. As a huge Dano fan, I always want him to get more attention for his roles. Hopefully he snags a Globe nom for this or something since it's Oscar chances are low.

    1. I think a Golden Globe nomination is very likely for Dano.


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