Love & Mercy (2015)

January 15, 2016

Starring: Paul Dano, John Cusack, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti
Director: Bill Pohlad

Bottom Line: Love & Mercy is Bill Pohlad’s homage to Beach Boys great Brian Wilson in his directorial debut. While there are plenty of references to Beach Boys classics and scenes of Brian Wilson crafting some of the great songs that appeared on the all-time classic Pet Sounds, this movie has much more to do with Wilson’s battle with psychosis and schizophrenia – and a sketchy therapist played by Giamatti in a relationship I never really understood (maybe because I was falling in and out of sleep for a few stretches) – than it does with the group trying to craft a masterpiece in the midst of The Beatles dominating and pioneering the music scene in the 1960s. The focus on Wilson and the director’s attempt to mirror the songwriter’s mental illness with a dizzying array of stream of conscious cinematography make the film more difficult than enjoyable. Still, the almost always fantastic Paul Dano is great as a young Wilson, and while this musician biopic is no Straight Outta Compton, it should please fans of The Beach Boys just fine.

Replay Value: Not much.
Sequel Potential: N/A.
Oscar Potential: Paul Dano got some acting nominations in various awards shows, including a Golden Globe nom, but no Oscar nod.

Grade: 5.5/10 (Recommended/Worth A Watch)

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