Starring John Cusack, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti
2015 / 121 Minutes / Roadside Attractions

Not knowing a lot about the life of Brian Wilson helped going into Love & Mercy. I had no idea his story so I found the movie quite interesting and compelling. However, there’s something here that isn’t quite working for me and I can’t quite put my finger on it. I enjoyed the storytelling and the jumping back and forth between the two important time periods, but it feels slightly disjointed at times losing some focus on areas that felt were a little glossed over. His first marriage and his children never really get the spotlight they should have and it was something I found myself curious to know more about. The portrayal of mental illness was interesting and really well done, but I needed more than that.

John Cusack and Paul Dano both playing Brian Wilson are really quite great. Cusack especially gives one of his best performances in years. The style and look of the movie are great and really felt like we were watching that era. There are some great dramatic moments throughout that are quite memorable including a great opening scene with Cusack meeting Elizabeth Banks for the first time. It’s a simple well written scene that’s perfectly acted by the two. That’s where the movie started on a high note and then just kinda ended on a flat note.

Love & Mercy tries hard and I appreciate it. I like the movie mostly and I think it is worth seeing, but it’s also disappointing. For 2 hours I felt compelled only to end feeling a bit unsatisfied.

Grade  C+

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