I was never really a fan of The Beach Boys. But I’m definitely a fan of Love & Mercy (2014) – a film based on the “life, love and genius” of Brian Wilson.
The two actors who played Wilson – John Cusack (modern Brian) and Paul Dano (young Brian) were quite good. Especially Dano, who was also excellent as a preacher-with-more-than-a-few-screws-loose in There Will be Blood (2007).
Paul Giamatti was his usual self – always knowing just how to contribute, while Elizabeth Banks (one of my favorites) was both luminous and very moving as her character becomes smitten by then, over time (despite some pretty sizable obstacles), falls in love with a man rather than a Beach Boy.
And I found it intriguing to see the early recording studio scenes with “The Wrecking Crew” (a group of top studio musicians who played on countless hit records) after having recently seen The Wrecking Crew (2008), a very entertaining biography of these musicians. I can’t verify how much of this movie is true, but based on the aforementioned documentary, it looks as though the film strived for authenticity.
The film does have its flaws. For example, I thought it tried and failed to get “artsy” in a certain sequence.
Nevertheless, it’s virtues are far more important.
Although the life portrayed in this film was difficult, even tormented at times, the film’s overall effect is amazingly uplifting. I felt really good leaving the theater.
So good, in fact, that I might just go out and buy a Beach Boys record!