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Love & Mercy (2014)

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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:

Bill Pohlad

Writers:

Oren Moverman, Michael A. Lerner (as Michael Alan Lerner) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
4,522 ( 1,019)
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 20 wins & 55 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Dano ... Brian - Past
John Cusack ... Brian - Future
Elizabeth Banks ... Melinda Ledbetter
Paul Giamatti ... Dr. Eugene Landy
Jake Abel ... Mike Love
Kenny Wormald ... Dennis Wilson
Brett Davern ... Carl Wilson
Graham Rogers ... Al Jardine
Erin Darke ... Marilyn Wilson
Bill Camp ... Murry Wilson
Joanna Going ... Audree Wilson
Nick Gehlfuss ... Bruce Johnston
Mark Linett Mark Linett ... Chuck Britz
Johnny Sneed ... Hal Blaine
Gary Griffin Gary Griffin ... Al De Lory
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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:

His music shaped our lives. Love saved his. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 June 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ahava va'khesed See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,122,177, 7 June 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$12,547,189, 27 September 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The session keyboardist 'Al De Lory' is portrayed by 'Gary Griffin (VI)', a composer/arranger who was first employed as a session musician for the Beach Boys in the late 1970s. In 2000, he composed original Beach Boys sound-alike music for the television biopic _An American Family (2000)_. See more »

Goofs

In the credits the listing for the song 'Sloop John B' says "Written by Brian Wilson". In fact Wilson's version was inspired by the Kingston Trio's 1958 version, and the song itself is a traditional folk song from the Bahamas. There is a transcription of the song dating to 1916.. See more »

Quotes

Marilyn Wilson: 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!
Everyone: Here, here!
Guest 1: Brian, the suits at Capitol must be happy.
Guest 2: Yeah, I guess you can tell the record company to screw themselves. I mean, you can do whatever you want, Brian. Right?
Guest 1: Now what are you going to do with all that freedom?
Brian Past: [to Marilyn] Did my dad call?
Marilyn Wilson: No, he didn't. You want me to get him for you?
Guest 1: Hey Van, what do you and Brian have cooking?
Van Dyke Parks: [smiling] ...
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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 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Bed Montage
Composed by Atticus Ross
Contains portions of:
"Don't Worry Baby"
Written by Brian Wilson and Roger Christian
Performed by The Beach Boys
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
"California Girls"
Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love
Performed by The Beach Boys
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A complex, unorthodox and emotionally resonant biopic.
17 March 2015 | by BrentHankinsSee all my reviews

While I generally enjoy most music biopics, it's hard to argue with the fact that most of them tend to subscribe to a very familiar pattern. Every once in awhile, a film comes along that break the mold - Todd Haynes did it in 2007 with I'm Not There, which featured six different actors portraying Bob Dylan at various points in his career. That film's writer, Oren Moverman, offers a similarly unconventional approach to Love & Mercy, which hones in on two critical periods during the life of Beach Boys songwriter Brian Wilson.

We first encounter Brian (Paul Dano) during the 1960s, shortly before the band is scheduled to head out for a tour of Japan. Reluctant to return to the road, Brian convinces his brothers that he belongs at home in the studio, where he'll be more effective at creating the band's next album. The boys finally acquiesce, and Brian hires a collection of studio musicians to begin crafting what would ultimately become Pet Sounds.

Our next encounter with Brian comes during the 1980s, where he's portrayed by John Cusack. Brian meets, and attempts to court, Cadillac saleswoman Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks), but she quickly discovers that Brian's life is not his own when she meets Dr. Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti), his therapist and legal guardian. Landy controls every aspect of Brian's existence, from his diet to his personal relationships, all the while insisting that he has Brian's best interests at heart.

The film frequently cuts between these two periods in Brian's life. We see the depths of his imagination and creativity as he employs a range of nontraditional elements to record Pet Sounds, desperately trying to bring to life the music he hears in his head, and all the while sliding further and further into the grip of severe mental illness. And we see the results of that illness, as Brian becomes a timid, broken man, cut off from his friends and family, allowing himself to be controlled and manipulated, and never able to find peace.

Director Bill Pohlad does a marvelous job of illustrating the parallels between each on screen version of Brian Wilson, and both actors give brilliant, emotional performances. Dano in particular turns in what can arguably be called the best work of his career, perfectly embodying Brian's childlike glee as he excitedly flits around the studio, and capturing the anguish and desperation as his mind continues to deteriorate.

Unorthodox in its approach and admirable in its complexity, Love & Mercy wisely chooses not to paint a definitive portrait of a man whose life couldn't possibly be summed up in a two-hour film. By confining the narrative to these two specific chapters, we're able to go far beyond the surface and reveal the inner workings of a tortured genius, and shed light on a story that few people are familiar with. Love & Mercy is a truly exceptional film about the internal and external struggles of a truly exceptional person, and is one of the most emotionally resonant experiences I've had with a film this year.


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