Love & Mercy is a biopic of Brian Wilson’s descent into madness interweaving two parts of his life as the mastermind behind The Beach Boys. There’s ‘young’ Brian (Paul Dano) and ‘present day’ Brian (John Cusack).
We get introduced to Brian in the present day 80’s when he meets and falls for a beautiful car salesperson Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks) while he’s purchasing a cadillac. It’s a whirlwind of an encounter as he takes the conversation all over the place, leaving her an alarming note that states he’s lonely and afraid. We also get introduced to his creepy, controlling doctor who is played by Paul Giamatti, setting up the conflict for the rest of the movie. Cusack’s performance channels Rain Man.
Young Brian’s story starts with a panic attack on a plane which seems to be the trigger point for his fall from grace. He decides me must stop touring with the band to work on the album Pet Sounds and starts abusing drugs. From then on he starts hearing noises and voices inside his head, with each scene he gets crazier and crazier. With the combination of background music and Dano’s performance you will question your own sanity at times throughout the movie.
There are many parallels in Brian’s double life portrayal. Both are a detailed inside look into how one can suffer from mental illness and how it affects the people around them, both have displeasing patriarchs he seeks approval from and both chronicles how cutthroat the music industry can be. In the end it’s a woman’s love and mercy that is the light at the end of the tunnel.
Overall Love & Mercy is a great biopic that leaves on the edge of your seat the entire time.
eOne Films release Love & Mercy across Canada on Friday, June 5 (Today!)
[Photos Courtesy of eOne]