Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Movie Review: Love and Mercy

I know this isn't a new movie, but I just got a chance to watch it, so I'm posting my review.

Love and Mercy is a biographical film about Brian Wilson, one of the founders of the Beach Boys, writer of the majority of their songs, and someone who is usually considered one of the greatest musical creators of rock and roll, if not all time.  I'll admit I'm a bit biased, as the Beach Boys are my all-time favorite band. And I don't just love the songs penned by Brian. For example, my favorite Beach Boys album is Holland, which includes contributions by all the guys that were members of the band at the time.

But this isn't a review of the band, it's the review of a movie, so on with it!

Love and Mercy includes some scenes that introduce the Beach Boys and set up the circumstances that caused Brian to be a composer of album material while the rest of the band toured. There isn't a lot of time spent on this, but that's okay, it on;y needs to be known for those who wouldn't know already. The bulk of the film is about Brian in two eras: 1)The creation of Pet Sounds and beginning of Smile and 2) Meeting his current wife, Melinda, and his escape from his Psychiatrist Dr. Landy.

The movie is a heart-wrenching look at the life of a guy who's a musical genius and more than a little mentally unstable.  Brian was always on edge due to his tough upbringing and difficult relationship with his father. His drug use and addiction took him over the edge. We can only dream of what Brian could have created if he had done a better job defeating his demons at an earlier time in his life. But at least Brian did eventually recover, and get good care to allow him to lead a normal life. Well, as normal as a rock legend can get, I guess.

The actors John Cusack and Paul Dano portray Brian at the different parts of his life, They don't look like Brian, but ignore that and enjoy the show, because they do a great job acting like Brian. The movie gets high marks from me for choosing very poignant scenes from Brian's life, keeping the story moving, and not messing with reality too often to be distracting.

The Real Brian and Melinda

Anyone who like music should see this film. And you kids who think music began in the year 2000 need to see this film to know the history of music. And then you should all go buy some Beach Boys records! I recommend Pet Sounds, Holland, Sunflower, and Summer Days (and Summer Nights!).

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