Love & Mercy (2014) Review

I’ve been on an indie movie kick but I didn’t plan my viewing strategy well, so I missed a few titles I wanted to see while they were still being shown at the local theater here.  (Even more unfortunate was the fact that I didn’t think to write the titles down, but I digress.)

Love & Mercy (2015)I’m a fan of their music, but I knew nothing about the personal lives of The Beach Boys.  I did a little light research after the fact, and the movie seems to mostly stay true to the stuff I found and read up on.

There was a review I read on this movie where the person had said being disappointed with how the movie was so focused on Brian Wilson’s inner demons and his journey and not enough time spent on his healing, but I actually appreciated seeing all the history.  I actually found it more appropriate, to show where Wilson had come from and save the where he is now bit for the very end.

I haven’t seen Paul Dano in a while, so it was nice to see him again.  I think he did a fantastic job as a younger Brian Wilson.  While John Cusack did a fair job as well, I think I was more moved by Dano’s interpretation of Wilson’s younger years.  Elizabeth Banks was also fantastic as always; she’s quickly become one of my favorite actresses.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Tyson Ritter (lead singer of the All-American Rejects) cast in a minor role here as well.  Couldn’t tell if he was supposed to be a groupie, friend, or something in between though.

Paul Giamatti was convincing in his role, and I found myself disliking the man he was supposed to be portraying, Gene Landry, instantly, as it was intended.  I’m sure they exaggerated some of what he did, after all, that’s what movies do, but even with a “toned down” version I don’t think I could feel much sympathy for how that man’s life turned out in the end.  I also found, assuming that they portrayed them honestly, Mike Love (portrayed by Jake Abel) and the father of the Wilson brothers () to be rather frustrating individuals as well.  It made me hope that the brothers were as close to each other in real life as they were portrayed in the movie, because it must have been awful for Brian especially, in the midst of all that toxicity.

The music was great.  My parents enjoyed listening to them, so I heard a lot of their songs growing up.  The film definitely brought back some good memories.

Final Thoughts: If you’re a fan of The Beach Boys and/or you’ve been following their story, then I’d recommend watching this movie.  I think it’s the perfect movie to unwind to, and I do think it’s worth watching in theaters before it’s gone.

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