The classic biopic problem; script is too overreaching, and the main fault is the inclusion of the 80's Brian, not mentioning Cusack and Giamatti's performances. A missed opportunity to dive into the psyche of Brian's post-Smile period, only culminating by the poolside where Dano is all Jake LaMotta'ed up. The inner conflicts of Brian should've been center, not the easy way out of making another person a villain.
The dual narrative elevates this film above the usual episodic biopic, with clever editing between the two plot strands helping us to understand Brian Wilson better than we would otherwise. Paul Dano gives a career best performance, though he frankly has the more interesting part of the script to work with. Elizabeth Banks gives a smart and very watchable performance. Pleasant surprise.
I like it, but putting my love of Wilson aside, it's good but not great. Source material carries it. Performances are good, as was the choice to tell the two stories. It isn't shot particularly well, at times it looks like a TV movie. The dialogue often feels forced & unnaturally inserts fun facts to get those without BBs knowledge more interested. "Did you know Paul McCartney's favorite song is God Only Knows?", etc
It's better than I expected. One may have the feeling the film is going too fast and cursorily, but it all depends wether you sink into the plot or not. In my opinion Love & Mercy tells a lot about Brian Wilson, especially his opus magnum, the Pet Sounds album. It's especially a great starting point for anyone interested, while might be less interesting for viewers who know a lot about BW. Definitely recommended.
Brian Wilson did something great (not only Pet Sounds but all the inovations in the music industry) and it is always necessary to remember that. This movie is an homage to a great band but especially to a great man. Long live to Brian. PS: Another great perfomance by Paul Dano, what a brilliant actor.
Have seen this maybe 4 times since it came out and it's still amazing every time. One of the best biopics I've seen in a long time. Probably John Cusack's best performance ever. Amazing directorial debut, but I guess being a producer on some Terrence Malick films, and 12 years a slave, etc, must've helped.