I am so moved by this movie, I felt compelled to write about it right after I watched, as not to loose the sheer emotion it has evoked in me. Love and Mercy, is one of my favorite films of this year, by leaps and bounds.
I will say, I went into this movie knowing nothing, and now what I do know after watching, will haunt me in some strange way, forever.
As I said, I really had no knowledge of this film before watching. I merely thought it was about The Beach Boys. Yet, really what this movie is about, is the incredibly tormented-genius, and sadly, abused soul, that is, Brian Wilson.
Whenever I hear The Beach Boys, I think simply, “happy”-“cheesy”-“oldies music.” Yet, when the songs are broken down, as they are in, Love and Mercy, you get a scope for the true prodigy that must have come up with it. That prodigy is, Brian Wilson. “Good Vibrations” is the Symphony no. 5 of his generation. Yes, I think Brian Wilson is in no small way in the same category as Beethoven. Not to mention, it must be pointed out that he was also deaf in one ear, (you need to watch the movie to fully understand.)
I don’t want to get into the details of the actual film and the inconceivable story that is the life of Brian Wilson, and The Beach Boys, without giving too much away. I will however talk about the acting in Love and Mercy.
I love John Cusack, and thought he would steal my heart, and the show, as he has done so many times in the past for me. But, no, though his performance was strong, for me, the real shining stars were, Elizabeth Banks, and Paul Dano, who plays the young Brian Wilson. Both actors retain a likeability and humanness that is so effortless, I was blown away by both their performances. The other anchor of the film, playing a villain so grotesque, it’s hard to believe he is based on a real life person, is the incomparable, Paul Giamtti. I am still shaken by the knowledge that he and all of this movie is based on a true story and real life people. To say more in my simple descriptions, would not do justice to this work of art. I should say, I think my strong reactions and emotions, are coming from both the film, and the life of, Brian Wilson. I am shaken, unneverd-to my gut and being, by the knowledge of such an incredibly talented, life and soul, who is so tortured mentally and by others. His talent was true Manna from Heaven. He was beyond “touched” by an otherworldly musical genius. Yet, while I am profoundly struck by Brain Wilson and his story, it must be said, that to do justice to a real life person, and their story, I think cinematically, is one of the hardest things to do, ever. I can not recommend this movie enough. Find it, watch it, research it. It’s awe-inspiring in a good way, and in a disturbing way. One thing for sure, I will say, you will never hear another Beach Boys song the same way ever again.