Love & Mercy (2014)


Directed By Bill Pohland

Starring: Paul Dano, John Cusack, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti


Wow. Just Wow. I went into Love & Mercy only knowing it was a Brian Wilson biopic and being a fan of The Beach Boys music (how can you know love them?), I am so glad I went in not knowing with this film was about because this film absolutely floored me. In case you are like me and don’t know a lot about this film, I will be as vague as possible. Love & Mercy tells the true story of Brian Wilson, legendary  member of The Beach Boys and his internal struggle as he creates some of the classic songs we have come to know and love. The film jumps back and forth between the 1960s and the 80s as we see Brian during his days with The Beach Boys and Brian as an older man. Younger Brian is played by Paul Dano and if you’re a film fan, what do I have to say that hasn’t been said about Paul Dano? He’s truly one of the most talented actors working today and he gives such a tragic and beautiful performance here as does his counterpart John Cusack who plays Brian as an older man. John Cusack is truly fantastic here as he’s a little more subdued then Dano but still has a few scenes where he truly breaks and it’s just gut-wrenching. As for the other performances, Elizabeth Banks was so so good as Melinda Ledbedder, older Brian’s girlfriend who deeply cares about Brian and Banks plays this so well, the way she looks at Cusack in their scenes together was just so real and beautiful that it felt like they were a real couple. Paul Giamatti as older Brian’s therapist, Dr. Landy, just wow. Paul Giamatti has such a rare quality that most actors don’t have in that he can be such a dispicable and awful character yet he’s so charming and likable your emotions are just played with whenever he’s on screen, he’s so so good.  Wha struck me most about this film was how haunting it was in certain scenes. There were times where I felt like I was watching a horror film because I was grinding my teeth and tightening my grip as certain revelations unfold. The direction was really sharp too. The way the film looked in the younger Brian scenes was really unique. It was very old fashioned looking and almost documentary style which made it feel all the more heartbreaking with each new revelation. This is a special kind of film anyone who is a fan of music, The Beach Boys or just really fantastic films, then please watch this film.


Grade: A


Kyle’s next film:

I give you Kyle, a film that I hold near and dear to my heart. A film that I was shown as a young man and fell in love with. In honor of its 40th anniversary, I feel now is a the perfect time for you too to enjoy a classic film.



Slap Shot (1977)

One of my all time favorite films and one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen, I hope this helps clear up your sports blues you’ve been having lately. Enjoy!


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