Love & Mercy
Autumn 2015 Features series
Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 4:00pm
Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 7:00pm
Directed by Bill Pohlad
Screenplay by Oren Moverman and Michael A. Lerner
Starring John Cusack, Paul Dano, and Elizabeth Banks
Rated NR ·
Love & Mercy presents an unconventional portrait of Brian Wilson, the mercurial singer, songwriter and leader of The Beach Boys. Set against the era-defining catalog of Wilson’s music, the film intimately examines the personal voyage and ultimate salvation of the icon whose success came at extraordinary personal cost.
This powerful and intimate film by Bill Pohlad, a veteran movie producer (including 12 Years a Slave) and co-written by Michael Alan Lerner and Oren Moverman (I’m Not There), tries to evade the typical pitfalls of the rock ‘n’ roll biography by focusing on two turning points in Wilson’s life, separated by 20 years or more: The creation of his quasi-symphonic masterwork Pet Sounds in the mid-1960s, along with his subsequent mental breakdown, and his disastrous, dependent relationship with a manipulative therapist named Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti, Barney’s Version, The Last Station) in the 1980s.
Wilson is played by Paul Dano (12 Years a Slave, Little Miss Sunshine) as a young man, and then by John Cusack as a middle-aged wreck struggling to reclaim himself with the help of girlfriend, and future wife, Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks). The two characters—they do not exactly seem like the same person—and the two drastically different periods of Wilson’s life and American cultural history weave in and out of each other in a devilishly complicated tapestry.
“Love & Mercy captures with striking immediacy the unbound power of the artist in his element.” (Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle)
“A wonderfully innervating cure for the common musical biopic, Bill Pohlad’s Love & Mercy vibrantly illuminates two major breakthroughs—one artistic, one personal—in the life of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson.” (Andrew Barker, Variety)