First post, a film review of Love & Mercy…
The biopic of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys who developed mental health difficulties.
“Love and Mercy” Trailer, c/o Love and Mercy site and photos © Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions.
My first post or the one with the most unimaginative title ever is not about me. This is because I’m not a me, me, me sort of person. Instead of this, I want to tell you about a really good film I saw before I forget how brilliant it was. Love & Mercy (2014) was recommended to me by my Darlin Husband. He said it was a “weeper” – as I have the tendency to cry at movies. But I stress only at totally uncontrived or unexpected moments when it comes to romance.
In this musician biopic film, John Cusack plays the older Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. He has admirable support from Elizabeth Banks as his second wife Melinda Ledbetter and Paul Giamatti as his psychotherapist Dr Eugene Landy. It tells how following a panic attack in the 1960s, the younger Brian Wilson (Paul Dano) stopped touring with the Beach Boys and then attempted to create their new album.
Meanwhile, he becomes unwell, with Wilson hearing voices in his head. Simultaneously, it also tells of how in the 1980s, Wilson – in middle age – is seen under the care of his therapist, Dr Eugene Landy. Landy appears to be abusive and controlling towards Wilson. Brian meets car saleswoman Melinda Ledbetter, who he dates and she hopes to help Wilson and stop Landy’s abuse.
This film is wonderful and convincingly acted by the cast. I found Cusack’s portrayal of Wilson sensitive and vulnerable throughout the movie. In Cusack’s hopefully Oscar-winning performance, we find Wilson was treated badly by both his father and his psychotherapist. It was a wonderful moment when timid Wilson found the confidence to phone Melinda to ask her on a date.
Paul Dano in contrast appeared more confident and expressive. This was seen particularly when he was in the studio. This was despite Wilson’s hearing difficulties and before he was affected by his voices. Dano gives a credible and moving performance.
Melinda was seen as a caring and gutsy woman. She fought for Wilson’s cause and she helped Wilson find himself and ultimately find his confidence. This is in believing his life would improve for the better. Paul Giamatti was totally convincing as Landy. I have nothing but praise for this film and would add it easily to my ever-expanding list of favourite films.
Only one thing spoiled it and that was what I call the Andie McDowell moment. This is when you think “WTF why did they keep that bit in…?” This term refers to that annoying line in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) where Andie says “Is it raining, I hadn’t noticed…”). In this film moment, the older Wilson goes looking for Ledbetter. He wanders aimlessly around outside her apartment block to meet her for a date.
I then start to think about another John Cusack film, Say Anything (1989). Here the Cusack character gets the girl in a similar situation of hoping to woo the love of his life. In this iconic and much parodied scene, standing outside her home, he puts a ghetto blaster on his shoulders. He puts it on and Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes is blaring out. At this moment, I inwardly thank the producers for not using a Beach Boys track for this part of the Say Anything soundtrack and start to sob.
Weeper Rating: 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 /10
Handsqueeze Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 /10
The Year, After Year Blogathon 2019, No 1
This post was added to The Year, After Year Blogathon run by Movie Movie Blog Blog. Other film reviews with this cast on this site include Elizabeth Banks in The Lego Movie. John Cusack stars in 2012, Class and Say Anything. Paul Giamatti stars in Rock of Ages and 5 Spectacular Singing Film Actors.