In the 60s, Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson struggles with emerging psychosis as he attempts to craft his avant-garde pop masterpiece. In the 80s, 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)
Early in the film, the older Brian (John Cusack) explains how he used to listen to the Four Freshmen and wanted to replicate their tight vocal harmony sound. Wilson used the Freshmen sound as a basis for The Beach Boys' harmony. 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 »
The version which premiered at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival and a few subsequent public screenings contained a few extra scenes, such as an "I Get Around" studio sequence, and a scene where Wilson meets Phil Spector on the street. The closing song "One Kind of Love" was also absent from this cut. See more »
I had no idea what this film was about. I thought it would be another musical biopic like "Walk the Line" or "Ray". It's nothing like those movies. This is the most intense, in-depth, and soulful look at the fragility of the creative mind since "All That Jazz". "All That Jazz" is the best film ever made about choreography and dance, this is the best film ever made about rock 'n roll. Dark, often depressing, but also exhilarating, "Love & Mercy", like "All That Jazz", captures the sense of loneliness and despair many creative geniuses suffer. And when the music starts, it's cool, loud, and breathtaking. "A Beautiful Mind" is the best film ever made about mental illness, because it's an unflinching and compassionate portrait rendered with remarkable artistic skill by director Ron Howard and acted by Russell Crowe. "Love & Mercy" is its equal: Director Bill Pohlad tells an equally moving story of a man's mind falling apart, every bit as skillfully as Ron Howard, and the performances by Paul Dano and John Cusack are each Oscar worthy - as was Russell Crowe's. And first and foremost, I found it to be one of the most painful and frightening portrayals of a tyrannical father ever put on film. Brian Wilson was surrounded by monsters, real and imaginary. In many ways the Beach Boys were a performing family, like the Osmonds or the Jackson 5, a band of brothers at the mercy of a brutal father. I could go on and on,there's a lot going on here - it's a terrific love story too - this movie delivers on so many levels.
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