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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the 1980s, Eugene Landy and his associates attempted to organize a biopic of Wilson's life entitled Love & Mercy with William Hurt as Wilson and Richard Dreyfuss as Landy. In the late 1990s, another biopic was planned with Jeff Bridges as Wilson. See more »
Dialogue suggests that the "Smiley Smile" album was completed by the Beach Boys without Brian's involvement; archival tapes show that he was actually very involved in the album's recording. See more »
[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...
You mean like voices? Voices in your head?
Well, kind of! Yeah, I guess.
[Carl and Dennis exchange tense looks]
[imitating Sonny the Cuckoo Bird]
I'm Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs! Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!
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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 »
This is the best music biopic since Immortal Beloved
It's almost impossible to portray the work involved in making a great song in a movie. Love and Mercy accomplishes that and so much more. It is an emotional juggernaut that every boomer should enjoy. Dano and Cusack nail the early and later Wilson. Elizabeth Banks holds the whole thing together with the "flash forwards" featuring her pitch-perfect performance.
The typical music biopic is a formula of rising star gets drugged out, falls from the pinnacle and either dies an early death or maybe makes a comeback after getting sober. This movie explains WHY all those things happened to Brian Wilson and does it with an unblinking eye. It treats the audience like they have brains.
This movie is not for the faint-hearted. It tells it like it was. Some very sad episodes, but an ending worth waiting for. Go see it.
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