7.4/10
32,963
140 user 271 critic

Love & Mercy (2014)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 19 June 2015 (USA)
Trailer
2:31 | Trailer
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 »
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 20 wins & 55 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Ruby Sparks (2012)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A novelist struggling with writer's block finds romance in a most unusual way: by creating a female character he thinks will love him, then willing her into existence.

Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Stars: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Annette Bening
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A hopeless man stranded on a deserted island befriends a dead body and together they go on a surreal journey to get home.

Directors: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
Stars: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
High Fidelity (2000)
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso
Youth I (2015)
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A retired orchestra conductor is on vacation with his daughter and his film director best friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip's birthday.

Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Stars: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.

Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Stars: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 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
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman
Nowhere Boy (2009)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A chronicle of John Lennon's first years, focused mainly in his adolescence and his relationship with his stern aunt Mimi, who raised him, and his absentee mother Julia, who re-entered his life at a crucial moment in his young life.

Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Anne-Marie Duff
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A middle-aged couple's career and marriage are overturned when a disarming young couple enters their lives.

Director: Noah Baumbach
Stars: Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver
I'm Not There (2007)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Ruminations on the life of Bob Dylan, where six characters embody a different aspect of the musician's life and work.

Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger
Selma I (2014)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

Director: Ava DuVernay
Stars: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth
45 Years (2015)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A married couple preparing to celebrate their wedding anniversary receives shattering news that promises to forever change the course of their lives.

Director: Andrew Haigh
Stars: Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James
Edit

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
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:

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 »
Edit

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 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,122,177, 7 June 2015

Gross USA:

$12,551,031

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$28,641,776
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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The session keyboardist Al De Lory is portrayed by Gary Griffin, a composer/arranger who was first employed as a session musician for The Beach Boys in the late 1970s. In 2000, he composed original The Beach Boys sound-alike music for the television biopic American Family (2002). See more »

Goofs

When Melinda and Eugene are talking outside about Brian, camera crew members are reflected on the side of Melinda's car. 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] ...
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 »

Connections

References Candid Camera (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Surfer Girl
Written by Brian Wilson
Performed by The Beach Boys
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A film about the two things we're constantly bound by
14 June 2015 | by StevePulaskiSee 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.


33 of 41 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 140 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed