Posted in: by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Film Reviews

Film Review: ‘Love & Mercy’

Paul Dano as young Brian Wilson

There was a time when you’d have gotten blank stares if you’d declared Brian Wilson, original Beach Boy and surf-sound hitmaker, a musical genius. That changed a couple of decades ago, about the time he was freed from the smothering control of the “radical psychotherapist” Dr. Eugene Landy, and when the 1966 album Pet Sounds was belatedly recognized as a pop-music masterpiece.

Love & Mercy is built on those two periods. It parallels the boyish enthusiasm and free-flowing creative drive of young visionary Wilson (Paul Dano) and the fragile, terrified older Wilson (John Cusack), and it manages to capture a lot of history in those few years without slipping into a portrait of heroes and villains.

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