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.


Bill Pohlad


Oren Moverman, Michael A. Lerner (as Michael Alan Lerner) | 1 more credit »
4,411 ( 947)
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 20 wins & 56 nominations. See more awards »





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


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 (

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The dysfunctional mind of a true musical genius. See more »


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 »

Did You Know?


The film takes place in 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1986 and 1987. See more »


When Murray Wilson tells Brian that he sold the rights to The Beach Boys' music, he states he sold the rights for $750,000. In reality, the rights were sold for only $700,000. See more »


Brian Past: [after a panic attack] I don't know. It was like - weird. Like I was in a movie or something. Like there were things there that I could see all of a sudden. Strange things. And people talking...
Carl Wilson: [worried] You mean like voices? Voices in your head?
Brian Past: No.
[pauses sheepishly]
Brian Past: Well, kind of! Yeah, I guess.
[Carl and Dennis exchange tense looks]
Brian Past: Maybe -
[imitating Sonny the Cuckoo Bird]
Brian Past: I'm Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs! Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!
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 »

Alternate Versions

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 »


References Candid Camera (1960) See more »


These Dreams
Written by Martin Page and Bernie Taupin (as Bernard Taupin)
Performed by Heart
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

User Reviews

Beautiful, Gripping, Eerie
8 December 2015 | by ThomasDrufkeSee all my reviews

There have been plenty of great musician biopics over the years, but I can't remember there being two incredible ones in the same year. Straight Outta Compton and Love & Mercy are two very different films in terms of structure and story for that matter, but both are equally as gripping and satisfying.

Focusing mostly solely on Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys leader, Love & Mercy tells the story of Brian in the early days of the band, and also his days in his 40's when his therapist controlled most of his life. The film's structure goes back and forth between these two eras with Paul Dano playing Wilson in his early days and John Cusack later on. Both of the performances exude a great amount of pain and suffering while still feeling relatable at the same time. Bill Pohlad also deserves a lot of credit for his ability to weave the two time periods together in seamless fashion.

The music of The Beach Boys will suck you in from the start, but it's really the writing, direction, and performances that keep you watching. The eerie tone is not that of a mainstream film, but that's a good correlation to the not-so-mainstream 'Pet Sounds' album the group worked on for a majority of the early years scenes. The film also does a good job of portraying the crazy genius that Brian Wilson was. His ability to mix song structure and break the norm of music at that time and even stray away from where the group was is unparalleled and extremely risky.

Paul Giamatti plays a similar back-stabbing character as he does in Straight Outta Compton, but it fits perfectly for his strengths. Really, there aren't any real weaknesses of this film. It's captivating throughout and the performances may even be worthy of some recognition come awards season. A job well done.

+Both lead performances

+Strange tone

+Bill Pohlad's consistent direction

+Who doesn't love the music?


8 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 171 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »






Release Date:

19 June 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Love & Mercy See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,122,177, 7 June 2015

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed