Friday, 10 July 2015

Review - Love & Mercy

Love & Mercy (poster).jpg
I know NOTHING about the Beach Boys and their music, yet still this is one of my favourites films so far this year.
Love & Mercy is a biographical film about musician and songwriter Brian Wilson, of The Beach Boys, directed by Bill Pohlad and starring; Paul Dano, John Cusack, Elizabeth Banks & Paul Giamatti.

The film centers on Brian Wilson's life in the past and the future, played by Dano in the past and Cusack in the future, it shows Brian Wilson's descent into madness while trying to create "the greatest album ever made" meanwhile in the future part, a middle-aged Wilson, who is now a broken and mentally ill man under the legal and healthcare of Dr. Eugene Landy (Giamatti). Wilson meets a Cadillac saleswoman, Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks) and they fall for each-other, Melinda tries to save Wilson from Landy's manipulation.
I loved this film, like i said i knew nothing about the band or Wilson himself, which i think may of increased my enjoyment of the film even more because i had no idea where the story would go and what Wilson's ultimate fate was and that's a testament to the film that i cared about the character even though i wasn't familiar with the real guy.
His story is fascinating and from my research the film is very true to life, the torment and horrible things Wilson went through is heart breaking, it makes you really feel for the character, at points i felt true sadness for this character, which i was so surprised by because i didn't think i'd care about the character so much. The way they told the story was great, it kept cutting back from future to past, with parts from the past resonating in the future parts, it is also heartbreaking seeing the young healthy Brian and then cutting back to the future to see the mentally ill Brian.

Paul Dano as Young Brian Williams
The acting in the film was brilliant all round, Paul Dano and John Cusack are both really good as Brian Williams, its interesting because they are playing the same character but their performances are so different from the others because of the state of Brian Williams at that point, Dano is playing Williams as a young, talented genius who slowly descents into madness, Dano acts the hell out of the role, his performance changes through out the movie the crazier he gets and its horrible to see him deteriorate.
John Cusack is also great in the role, his version of William's is a very twitchy and slightly mad, but still feels like the Brian Wilson that Dano is also portraying, Cusack's role really relies on his relationship with Melinda played by Elizabeth Banks, their relationship is lovely and sad to see at the same time, the relationship is vital to the main story-line and without it the film wouldn't work as well, but thanks to the actors it really does.
John Cusack as older Brian & Elizabeth Banks as Melinda

I haven't seen Elizabeth Banks do a lot of straight up drama films, but after watching this film she should do a lot more, this is the best I've seen Banks, she was cute and emotional and really sold that her character loves Brian, which is why her performance worked so well.
Paul Giamatti's portrayal of Dr Eugene Landy was both charismatic and scary at the same time, the character had such a short fuse and would explode at characters in some scenes which is so shocking because he is so mild and tame at the other times, something that Giamatti is perfect to play, the character was so horrible, but Giamatti really sold his motivation and almost made me come around on him at points.

My only real complaint of the film was the pacing, near the end it just felt a bit overlong, they should of trimmed off the fat and i think it would of been paced a lot better.

Love & Mercy is a brilliant film about a fascinating man, the movie evokes all kinds of emotions out of you and the performances are top class, i recommend the film to anyone and everyone.

What did you think of Love & Mercy?
Comment and let me know!

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