In the 1960s, Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson struggles with emerging psychosis as he attempts to craft his avant-garde pop masterpiece. In the 1980s, he is a broken, confused man under the 24-hour watch of shady therapist Dr. Eugene Landy.
Brian Wilson is the creative soul of the Beach Boys, but he paid a heavy price for his talent. That especially shows during his peak artistic years in the 1960s, as his inner demons and obsessions trying to please his abusive father drive him to a mental breakdown that would plague him for years. In the 1980s, with Brian barely functional under the domination of the unscrupulous Dr. Landy, Brian meets and falls in love with Melinda Ledbetter. As their relationship grows, she observes Brian's crippling subservience to the abusive psychotherapist with growing alarm. Ultimately, she must take action with a love willing to stand up to oppression she cannot ignore. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
Brian mentions The Beatles Rubber Soul album in the film but the version of the album he heard in the USA did not match the version released in the UK and elsewhere. Four tracks were removed from the UK version of the album ("Drive My Car", "Nowhere Man", "What Goes on", and "If I Needed Someone") and two tracks from the UK Help album (tracks which had not yet been released in the USA) were added ("I've Just Seen a Face" and "Its Only Love"). The USA release was 7 minutes shorter than the UK version. The "missing" Rubber Soul tracks were later issued in the USA on the album Yesterday and Today. See more »
When Brian talks about a Shanty album while inside the pool, by the end of the scene a crew member is reflected in the window behind him over his left shoulder. See more »
First, there's concert footage of the recent Brian Wilson, himself, singing "Love & Mercy", and then at the very end there is audio of a brief recreated studio recording of Good Vibrations, with '60s Brian leading the dialogue. See more »
This is the best music biopic since Immortal Beloved
It's almost impossible to portray the work involved in making a great song in a movie. Love and Mercy accomplishes that and so much more. It is an emotional juggernaut that every boomer should enjoy. Dano and Cusack nail the early and later Wilson. Elizabeth Banks holds the whole thing together with the "flash forwards" featuring her pitch-perfect performance.
The typical music biopic is a formula of rising star gets drugged out, falls from the pinnacle and either dies an early death or maybe makes a comeback after getting sober. This movie explains WHY all those things happened to Brian Wilson and does it with an unblinking eye. It treats the audience like they have brains.
This movie is not for the faint-hearted. It tells it like it was. Some very sad episodes, but an ending worth waiting for. Go see it.
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