7.4/10
21,173
111 user 254 critic

Love & Mercy (2014)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 19 June 2015 (USA)
Trailer
2:31 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $17.99 on Amazon Video

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.

Director:

Writers:

, (as Michael Alan Lerner) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
1,927 ( 637)
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 19 wins & 50 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace's groundbreaking epic novel, 'Infinite Jest.'

Director: James Ponsoldt
Stars: Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, Anna Chlumsky
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  

Disturbing the Peace follows a group of former enemy combatants - Israeli soldiers from the most elite units, and Palestinian fighters, many of whom served years in prison - who have come ... See full summary »

Directors: Stephen Apkon, Andrew Young
99 Homes (2014)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A recently unemployed single father struggles to get back his foreclosed home by working for the real estate broker who is the source of his frustration.

Director: Ramin Bahrani
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, Laura Dern
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A lonely college freshman's life is turned upside-down by her impetuous, adventurous stepsister-to-be.

Director: Noah Baumbach
Stars: Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke, Nat Baldwin
Northfork (2003)
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Set in 1955, the residents of a small Montana community are forced to move their homes to make way for a new dam.

Director: Michael Polish
Stars: Duel Farnes, Nick Nolte, Anthony Edwards
Amy III (2015)
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of Amy Winehouse in her own words, featuring unseen archival footage and unheard tracks.

Director: Asif Kapadia
Stars: Amy Winehouse, Mitch Winehouse, Mark Ronson
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

High schooler Greg, who spends most of his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl, finds his outlook forever altered after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer.

Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Stars: Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke
Adventure | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Claire Lescot is a famous prima donna. All men want to be loved by her. Among them is the young scientist Einar Norsen. When she mocks at him, he leaves her house with the declared ... See full summary »

Director: Marcel L'Herbier
Stars: Jaque Catelain, Léonid Walter de Malte, Philippe Hériat
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A teen artist living in 1970s San Francisco enters into an affair with her mother's boyfriend.

Director: Marielle Heller
Stars: Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgård, Kristen Wiig
Slow West (2015)
Action | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young Scottish man travels across America in pursuit of the woman he loves, attracting the attention of an outlaw who is willing to serve as a guide.

Director: John Maclean
Stars: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Michael Fassbender, Ben Mendelsohn
Carol (2015)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An aspiring photographer develops an intimate relationship with an older woman.

Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A tour into the heart of a Hollywood family chasing celebrity, one another and the relentless ghosts of their pasts.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Mark Linett ...
...
Gary Griffin ...
Al De Lory
Edit

Storyline

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 (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Life, Love and Genius of Brian Wilson

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, drug content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 June 2015 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ahava va'khesed  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,122,177 (USA) (5 June 2015)

Gross:

$12,547,189 (USA) (25 September 2015)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The studio scenes were improvised in a live, unrehearsed pseudo-documentary style with two 16mm handheld cameras. Dano, who once played in a band, was really directing the actors on how to play their instruments, who themselves were also real life musicians. While these scenes were mostly unscripted, Dano directly quoted some lines spoken by Wilson from the original session tapes. See more »

Goofs

In the studio, the baritone saxophone player is seen with a Yamaha baritone saxophone. Yamaha didn't make baritone saxophones until 1969. See more »

Quotes

Brian Past: [singing] God only knows what I'd be without you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

References Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Love & Mercy
Written by Brian Wilson
Performed by Brian Wilson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A film about the two things we're constantly bound by
14 June 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's no secret that with the plethora of biopics we get every year, there is a formula that many of them follow. Just last year, we got to see the stories of a wayward soul who ventured out on a soul-cleansing journey through the mountains, a computer genius who cracked a presumably unbreakable code during war times, one of the deadliest snipers in American history, and one of funk's greatest musicians told on film. Bill Pohland's "Love & Mercy," concerning the life of Beach Boys singer Brian Wilson, is bound to be written off by some as another interchangeable biopic, but if you've seen so much as a trailer for this film, you know this is something deeper, richer, and more complex than formula could ever begin to handle.

"Love & Mercy" focuses on two times pieced together, as Pohland and the writing team of Michael Alan Lerner and Oren Moverman segway between the "past" Brian Wilson, played by Paul Dano, and the "future" Brian Wilson, played by John Cusack, never telling us exactly where the present lies. We follow Wilson during his rise with his brothers and friends to make The Beach Boys one of America's most successful boy bands in the 1960's. Despite initial success with The Beach Boys, following a severe panic attack, Wilson resigns from the band to focus on writing back home in California. He's convinced he has found the formula for "the greatest rock album ever," experimenting with a plethora of different melodies, instruments, and lyrics to create something one can not only hear and enjoy, but feel.

While undergoing this arduous process, Wilson is met with little vocal support. He receives the casual head nods from most of his bandmates, with the exception of Michael Love (Jake Abel), who constantly criticizes his creative decisions, and his father, who is still bitter after being fired by his own son. While focusing on this, we frequently jump into Brian's life in the future, where he is placed under the care of Dr. Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti in another brutal but compelling role), who over-medicates and physically and mentally abuses him. Brian winds up meeting and falling for a Cadillac saleswoman named Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks), who constantly wants to be with him but finds Dr. Landy to be a smothering force preventing their connection from growing.

Pohland's experimental structure for "Love & Mercy" is nothing shy of remarkable, but the fact that it doesn't make the film feel off balance or tonally uneven is a total cinematic anomaly. While frequently weaving through different time periods seems ripe for complete chaos for a film trying to keep a consistent tone, "Love & Mercy" handles the challenge beautifully, humanizing Brian regardless of his age and working to find the core idea in each scene.

I've long asserted that Paul Dano is one of the finest actors in cinema today and "Love & Mercy" is another link in his ever-growing chain of terrific performances. Similar to his role in "Prisoners," Dano must remain relatively expressionless and look as if nothing is occurring inside his head, when really, there is too much going on in his head to accurately communicate. Dano, once again, blindsides the audience by taking a role that seems too facile to carry a film and making it a fleshed out, thoroughly impressive performance. John Cusack also delivers a role much like Dano, channeling his kind of emptiness so well that it's like watching two actors in different time periods of their life playing a character in different time periods of his own life. The result is a mesmerizing, surreal experience.

"Love & Mercy"'s vignette-style structure examines the heartbreak, the joy, the contentment, and the unmatched physical and mental pressure of Brian in a remarkably tender way. Robert Yeoman's cinematography also paints a picture that, while littered with nostalgia in look, costume design, and general vibes, captures Brian's hectic environment so affectionately that it becomes strangely beautiful. Through all of Brian's madness, his unpredictable panic attacks, episodes of rage, and the contemptuous relationship with his father, Pohland searches to find attributes of Brian to showcase in a way that's impacting.

Calling "Love & Mercy" a "mesmerizing, surreal experience" is an appropriate, if ostensibly exaggerating, summation. Similar to how Brian can't always communicate the beauty behind the sound of his music, I can't quite put my finger on what works with this film and in what manner. This film, however, snuck up on me in a way that was remarkably subtle but lasting and, even though it's been several days since I've seen it, the effect remains strong in a way that only enhances the film's compelling and unique aura.


25 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Paul Dano for Oscar. mmichaels-71660
My biggest problem with the film.. timdgd
John Cusack CowgirlUp94
don't you just love Paul dano pralhadxhrestha
What document did Melinda find? lorgurus
You still believe in me. crookdways
Discuss Love & Mercy (2014) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?