One of the best music biopics I’ve seen in quite a while. The story of Brian Wilson’s (The Beach Boys chief song writer and creative genius) battle with mental illness and drugs during the recording of Pet Souunds, Love & Mercy smartly doesn’t attempt to cover Wilson’s entire life. Instead, it gives us a peek into the creative process and interpersonal struggles of the band as they recorded this brilliant work which many critics consider to be one of the top 10 greatest albums of all time.
Special mention has to go to both Paul Dano (playing the younger Brian Wilson in his prime) and John Cusack (playing the older, seriously mentally ill Wilson). Both do an amazing job of capturing his struggles at each point in his life. Dano is always excellent and does a masterful job here again but I was particularly surprised by how great Cusack was. He seemed to be in a creative slump for the past decade and this was the best work I can remember him doing in a long time. All the supporting cast is good as well with particularly scary and amazing performance by Paul Giamatti as the crackpot psychiatrist / producer dominating Wilson’s later life. If you’re a fan of The Beach Boys like I am, Love & Mercy is not to be missed.