Jun. 7, 2015

"Love & Mercy" Movie Review

Love & Mercy
Movie Review

By Marc Platt

I have to admit, I usually do NOT like these biopics. I usually fear that the acting will be a caricature of the rock stars they are portraying.

That did not happen here at all. Paul Dano was more than believable as an actor playing the YOUNGER 1960s version of Brian Wilson and John Cusack gives one of his very best performances (along with 'Hi Fidelity') as the 1980s older Brian. Both actors capture the simplicity Brian comes off as a person, yet the complexity he suffered because of the emotional abuse heaped on him by his father and Mike Love.

Elizabeth Banks gives her second career-defining performance (along with 'Seabiscuit') as Melinda Ledbetter, who would later become Brian's 2nd wife.

As a songwriter, musician, recent author and life-long Beach Boys fan, I was skeptical going in, but the work my old pal Darian Sahanaja did as a music consultant on this film is greatly admired by me and those in the know. He helped mold Paul Dano as a credible musician, utilizing Sahanaja's 20 years in the Brian Wilson camp to the max.

Great work by all the musicians (not actors) who appeared as The Wrecking crew, including another dear friend Willie Aron.and another stalwart L.A. musician Rob Laufer also appear.

This is an Oscar-worthy movie in many categories and the story is compelling and accurate. For nerds like me, I would have liked to see Brian's collaborators like Tony Asher and Van Dyke Parks given a little more credit and reverence, but that is nitpicking.

Great movie! Go see it even if your are NOT a Beach Boys fan.



Directed by Bill Pohlad
Written by Oren Moverman & Michael Lerner
Starring John Cusack, Paul Dano & Elizabeth Banks