Love and Mercy is undoubtedly one of the best musical biopics in recent memory. Not only does the dual narrative perfectly weave between two eras of the sonically blessed giant, Brian Wilson, but is portrayed with an absolutely perfect portrayal of the late, great mastermind of the studio. The story weaves between both eras of Wilson's life, making coherent his rise to fame and eventual breakdown due to infamous producer, Eugene Landy. Director, Bill Polhand carries the plot with emphasis placed exactly where it should be. This film, unlike most musical biopics, doesn't the famous individual of focus in glory and pride... He portrays him as he is: the sensitive and eternally curious soul that created some of the greatest music of all time.
The film focusses on young Brian Wilson, played by Paul Dano, going through trials with his abusive father and manager while trying to create a masterpiece. His father's heavy verbal and physical abuse would carry on with Wilson into adulthood. Hence the older Wilson, played by John Cusack, who is even more weary and insecure than the young Brian. As he embraces his current state of being with his cruel manager and psychotherapist with very cruel methods, Paul Landy (Paul Giamatti), and the fact that he is being constantly watched by Landy and his 'body guards'. Quickly into the film, Wilson begins a magnetic connection with Melinda, a car dealer whom he shares his deepest thoughts with about his mid-life crisis.
As a whole, the movie not only gives us an honest glimpse of the Beach Boys' legacy and Brian Wilson's selflessly ambitious approach to music that made them timeless, but also a beautiful analysis on Wilson's life. Some may call him troubled, but Love and Mercy portrays him as much more. Wilson was a fearless tour-de-force who was willing to hear it all. Sometimes the volume can get too loud. When it's just right, however, magic becomes reality. Long live the great Brian Wilson, and may biopic films like these continue to carry on the legacies of such great music for new generations.