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)
The film avoided taking creative liberties as much as possible. See more »
Brian tells Melinda when they are sitting in the Cadillac in the showroom that his brother died two years earlier. Dennis drowned in December 1983. That would make the scene set in 1985 or early 1986. The song playing in the background is "Songbird" by Kenny G, which was not released until 1987. See more »
I'd like to make a toast. To "Good Vibrations", Brian's pocket symphony to God. And the biggest selling single the Beach Boys ever had. Ever!
Brian, the suits at Capitol must be happy.
Yeah, I guess you can tell the record company to screw themselves. I mean, you can do whatever you want, Brian. Right?
Now what are you going to do with all that freedom?
Did my dad call?
No, he didn't. You want me to get him for you?
Hey Van, what do you and Brian have cooking?
Van Dyke Parks:
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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 »
On one level this is an enjoyable, sculpted film, competently acted and directed. On another level it renders Brian Wilson's compelling story as a cartoon, with one dimensional villain, and henchmen, and spotless do nothing wrong heroes, in the angelic only-missing-a-halo Girlfriend and the charmingly whacky Wilson himself. His band of brothers are cut out 60's clichés, Mike love clearly cast in his darker shade and the others in shades of invisible. None of these characters are rendered in any detail beyond what we'd expect in a children's cartoon. And when you notice that it makes the whole film a much lesser event that's hard to take seriously, and that does a disservice to Wilson's story. While I enjoyed the recording and youthful Wilson sections the set ups are just too bombastic to nail home the agenda of Evil shrink, Henchmen, Angelic GF, Simple naive central figure etc. No subtlety, no real shades, just primary colors.
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