Review: Love & Mercy

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Title: Love & Mercy
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Bill Pohlad
Starring: Paul Dano, John Cusack, Elizabeth Banks
Runtime: 2 hr 1 min

What It Is: A biopic on the co-founder of The Beach Boys Brian Wilson, who along with his brother Dennis (Kenny Wormald) and Carl (Brett Davern) formed the band along with their cousin Mike Love (Jake Abel) in the 1960’s and created hit after hit with their California surf vibe. This film takes place after all that and tells two separate stories about Wilson. His older self (Cusack) now under the advisement of psychologist Dr. Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti) whom is now trying to get to know car salesman Melinda Ledbetter (Banks). While flashing back to Wilson younger days (Dano) and the creation of his bands most critically acclaimed (but financially disasterous) album Pet Sounds and the issues he was going through in subsequent years.

What We Think: What a fantastic film! This movie shares a lot with last years Get on Up in that it is a biopic on a popular musician released in the summer that got no play in theaters. One major difference is this film never did a wide release, and in addition this film got a ton of critical acclaim. It’s well deserved, that much is for sure. In particular Paul Dano absolutely kills it as the younger version of Wilson. He understands the man behind one of the greatest albums of all-time in Pet Sounds. Banks shows herself approved as the car salesman turned Mrs. Wilson, and Cusack is a worthy scene mate for her as the older Brian Wilson.

Our Grade: A-, Goddammit that’s a good biopic. Not only do I already love The Beach Boys, being from Hawthorne, California myself, but this movie is just great. This is director Bill Pohlad’s first big feature, and since that’s the case I cannot wait for the next time he directs something. I’m going to (obviously) recommend this one to anyone and everyone!

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