Love & Mercy – Excellent Music Bio-Pic

Published June 15, 2015 by Maryanne

Love-at-MercyPaul Dano (young Brian Wilson), John Cusak (future Brian Wilson), and Elizabeth Banks

You don’t have to be a Beach Boys fan to love the tragic bio-pic “Love & Mercy.”

I was never a Beach Boys fan. I can count the number of songs I like by them on less than one hand, but I can’t resist a good music bio. Plus, I’m a big John Cusak fan.

I came out of the theatre, still not a Beach Boys fan, but in total awe and sadness of Brian Wilson’s tragic life: panic attacks and struggles with paranoia/schizophrenia, manipulation from a greedy therapist who took advantage, and a tyrant father trying to run the show … what a horrible life that poor dude had.

All the actors were fabulous. I’m not a movie person and it takes a lot to get me to the theatre. This film definitely delivered. I was thrilled to see Elizabeth Banks (who I only knew from “Zac & Miri Make a Porno.”). She played an excellent role as Brian Wilson’s girlfriend, car salesperson, Melinda.

As a music fan, it was super cool to see actors playing as “The Wrecking Crew” a group of studio musicians that played with all the great talent in the 1960s and 1970s. And as a music fan, the genius of the recordings was also a favorite part for me. Even though The Beach Boys music just doesn’t move me, I can appreciate the work put into the songs.

And the fact that this was also a beautiful love story, that’s what really got me hooked. The movie left you wanting more, as all epic movies do, moving me to want to check out a book on Brian Wilson or even the more obscure music of Brian Wilson.

I wish the movie was just a little longer because I would have liked to see something about his daughters, musical talents Carnie and Wendy Wilson.

According to Wikipedia, Brian Wilson felt the film was “very factual” but that there were good parts to his life and the film focused on the dark.

Here’s a great trailer from the movie:

My favorite Beach Boys song:

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta wrote about music for, Punk Magazine, The Aquarian/Arts Weekly, and various other publications. Her memoir: “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” is available on Amazon:

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