Love & Mercy (Nik's Piks: Movie Review)

"Five years from now, no one is going to remember you or the Beach Boys." ~ Love & Mercy

I love when I stumble upon a fairly unknown film - and love it. The biopic film about singer-songwriter Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Love & Mercy, is a must-see for many reasons. Obviously, if you are a fan of the popular 1960s band from California with the distinct sound, you will enjoy this film. However, what shocked me the most, is that, while I like a lot of the music from the sixties, the Beach Boys had a sound that never resonated with me - until, that is, seeing this film and learning about the man behind the songs. Music buffs, drama fans, and those who simply want to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane will absolutely love this film.

Love & Mercy takes place in two time periods. First, set in the 1980s, we see Brian Wilson (played by John Cusack) as a washed-up musician suffering from mental illness and recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. He meets Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks - one of my favorite actors), who will eventually play a major role in his recovery. 

Watch Official Trailer

For years, Wilson was being treated by psychotherapist, Dr. Eugene Landy, and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. However, Landy, played by Paul Giamatti, who acted as Wilson's medical guardian, represented yet another dangerous, co-dependent relationship in the musician's life. 

"Sometimes your inner voice wants to express itself, and every once in a while, every blue moon, our soul comes out to play." ~ Love & Mercy

Throughout the film, there are flashbacks to the sixties where Paul Dano, who earned a Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor nomination for his performance, plays young Wilson. We see how, during the musical revolution of the 1960s, Wilson's creative genius takes the band to the top of the charts, but nearly cost him everything. Exacerbated by an abusive father and the drug culture, the band's fame, on more than one occasion, nearly cost him everything. 

Love & Mercy is truly an uplifting story of how Brian Wilson overcame mental illness, abuse, and addiction to make one of the most dramatic comebacks in the industry. Banks and Cusack delivered fabulous performances and had dynamic chemistry, but Dano stole the screen and was worthy of more than a Globe nomination. If you weren't a fan of the Beach Boys before seeing this film, you just might be afterwards. Even if you were a fan, I guarantee you'll never listen to one of their songs quite the same way again. The soundtrack is another highlight, and includes a live performance of the song "Love & Mercy" in the final credits. 

Love & Mercy is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, drug content, and language. 

I hope you don't mind if I indulge you in just one song.......

Read more of my Nik's Piks: After Hours reviews. 

Check out my Family Movie Reviews too! 


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