The biopic is taken to a new level with director Bill Pohlad’s LOVE & MERCY. The dual portrayals of Brian Wilson by John Cusak and Paul Dano are breathtaking, but Elizabeth Banks steals the show as the woman, Melinda Ledbetter, who saves Brian from the clutches of a crazed shrink played to mad perfection by Paul Giamatti.
This movie takes a hard look at how people who see visions and hear voices are marginalized and put on meds. In Brian’s case he started the drug ball rolling with LSD, weed, booze and cocaine. Typical rock star stuff, but in Brian’s case he slid into the deep end of altered consciousness and never crawled out. A big part of the story of how Wilson fell into of the clutches of the truly evil Dr. Landy, who knew Giamatti could play such fiend, is missing for me.
I flashed back to the 70s, when drugs were even more rampant than they are today. When offered acid or pot I would always day, “No thanks I trip everyday.” Seeing this movie made me glad I stuck to that credo.
Brian’s lucky he was Caddy shopping and found a good woman to rebuild his life with in Melinda. And we have more songs from a genius of the 60s and a great lady to thank for that. 4 stars. Would have been 5 but something for me was lacking in Cusak performance. Though great he did not seem loveable enough to attract a Melinda. Still a film very worth seeing as a look deep into a great artist’s mind.